In Act One of William Gibson's play, The Miracle Worker, twenty-year-old Anne Sullivan completes her arduous train rides from the Perkins Institute for the Blind and arrives in Tuscumbia, Alabama, where the Mrs. Keller and her sarcastic son, James, meet her. As they make the carriage ride from the train station to the Keller home, Kate questions Annie, asking if it is possble to teach anyone as difficult as Helen. Annie replies that Dr. Howe, whom Kate admires, did wonders, but "he never treated them [the children] like ordinary children."
When Mrs. Keller seems apprehensive about Annie's inexperience and youth, Annie boldly confronts these fears, asserting that she has great advantages over Dr. Howe, advantages that money cannot buy:
- "The work behind me." Miss Sullivan has read all that Dr. Howe has written on the subject, and being young has given her the energy to pursue this knowledge.
- "Another is to be young." Because she is young, Annie contends, she has the energy to do whatever is needed to teach Helen.
- "I've been blind." Because Annie has experienced what Helen now does, she understands the issues involved with blindness; in addition, she feels a greater sense of purpose in breaking Helen out of the prison of this blindness.