Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson

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How old was Annie when she arrived at the Kellers' home?

Quick answer:

Annie Sullivan is twenty years old when she arrives at the Keller home.

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When she first arrives at the Keller home, Annie Sullivan is just twenty years old, a graduate of the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Her young age initially discomfits the Kellers, particularly Captain Keller, as does her recent recovery from blindness.

However, Annie's young age belies a wealth of experience and compassion. She has known suffering from the time she was a small girl, having lost both her parents and her brother. She also understands how it feels to be blind and how it feels by be ostracized by society, making her an ideal teacher for the frustrated and isolated Helen.

Annie's young age also makes her somewhat emotionally vulnerable. She has only recently come into adulthood, emerging scarred from a bad childhood. While that childhood has made her tougher and better equipped to deal with Helen's persistent bad manners, it also means that Annie has her own inner demons to wrangle. She is still haunted by her brother's death, particularly by feelings of guilt. She is also keenly aware that a lot is riding on her success with Helen and that her youth is part of the reason she faces so much doubt from the Keller family.

By the end, Annie's success proves that her young age is hardly a detriment to her quest to reach Helen. Instead, it is a major part of her success, allowing her to better connect with Helen.

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