Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson
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What scene does a battle over scissors between Martha and Helen Keller happen in The Miracle Worker?

Martha first appears in the play in Scene 1 and she is a servant of Helen's family. In Scene 2, Martha and Kate argue about who will take care of Helen. They proceed to fight over scissors until Helen takes the scissors from Martha. The fight continues into scene 3 but with Anne intervening to make peace.

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Act 1, Scene 2 involves the conflict between Martha and Helen.

In Act 1, the family is having trouble with Helen.  She is blind and deaf, and her frustration with being unable to communication makes her angry and violent.  An example of this is when she takes the scissors from...

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Act 1, Scene 2 involves the conflict between Martha and Helen.

In Act 1, the family is having trouble with Helen.  She is blind and deaf, and her frustration with being unable to communication makes her angry and violent.  An example of this is when she takes the scissors from Martha.  This is shown in the stage directions in Act 2.

 [But at once HELEN topples MARTHA on her back, knees pinning her shoulders down, and grabs the scissors. MARTHA screams. PERCY darts to the bell string on the porch, yanks it, and the bell rings.] 

The fight with the scissors continues into the next scene.  Martha runs off crying and Kate tries to get the scissors from Helen.  She is able to communicate with Helen, and Helen surrenders the scissors. 

It is very difficult for Helen to have a normal childhood, and it is hard for her family to deal with her.  She is often indulged by some and in conflict with others.  She does not get along with other kids, as her fight with Martha shows.  Kids don’t understand her and can’t really manage her.  As a result, she leads a lonely life in the dark until Anne can come and show her the light.

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