Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson
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Why did Helen feel like crying at times?

Helen cries at times out of frustration at her inability to communicate and interact with her world. She also throws tantrums because her parents spoil her.

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In The Miracle Worker by William Gibson, Helen Keller is isolated from the rest of the world. She is both blind and deaf, and she knows of no way to communicate with the people around her. She does not understand them, and she cannot make herself understood by them. This must be extremely frustrating, and it is likely why Helen cries and throws tantrums. She is an intelligent child, and she demonstrates this frequently (like when she locks Annie in her room), yet she cannot communicate her intelligence.

Helen wants to learn. She wants to be part of her world. We know this because she moves around rooms, touching objects, trying to learn about people and things. She is in an environment she cannot see among people she can neither see nor hear. Yet she wants to reach out and cannot. Again, this is highly frustrating, and she acts out because of it.

Further, Helen's parents have no idea how to help their daughter. They give her candy whenever she cries and throws fits because this makes her calm down, yet it also teaches her that when she wants something sweet, she should cry and throw fits. Annie knows that Helen can learn and grow only with discipline, and she applies it, which makes Helen violently angry at times even though it is just what she needs.

Finally, Helen gets frustrated with what Annie tries to teach her. She has difficulty connecting the words Annie spells in her hand with the objects associated with those words. She cannot find meaning, and she often becomes stubborn. At the end of the play, however, something clicks, and Helen finally realizes that she can learn. The world opens up to her.

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