The Miracle Worker Questions and Answers
by William Gibson

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Why is the play called "The Miracle Worker"?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Anne Sullivan came to work with Helen Keller, Helen was both blind and deaf. She could not speak and had had little training in how to behave. That meant that Helen reacted to life more as an animal that a person. Her parents felt sorry for her and therefore allowed her to get away with things most normal children would never even think of doing. For instance, she had never learned to sit and eat a meal but simply ate off of everyone else's plate. If Helen was ever going to be a successful adult, Sullivan had to teach both Helen and her family that she was capable of civil behavior and then somehow teach a blind and deaf girl to communicate. Sullivan was successful at both challenges and somehow working"miracles" with both Helen and her family. Keller became and internationally known writer and advocate for the disabled.

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dbrooks22 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The play is called The Miracle Worker because Annie Sullivan worked a miracle when she not only taught Helen Keller to communicate but also when she brings the Kellers closer to each other. Helen's entire family thought that teaching her was hopeless. They had pretty much given up on her ever being able to live a normal life. Sullivan, however, believed otherwise. She refused to give up on Helen because, in a sense, she would be giving up on herself. Sullivan's persistance opened up the lines of communication with Helen and showed her a new world. Mr. Keller was very uncommunicative and harsh toward his son James. Sullivan is the only one who stands up to his harsh criticism and eventually she makes him realize that he has become a hard man. Sullivan also made James realize that he was a man and had the ability to stand up to his father's criticism. Sullivan worked a miracle with the entire Keller family. She believed not only in Helen but also in herself, and because of this belief, a miracle occured.

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