The Miracle Worker


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The Miracle Worker

  1. 1. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
  2. 2. Born in 1914, William Gibson spent most of his childhood in an area of New York City called the Bronx. His mother encouraged him to achieve beyond normal expectations and tutored her son so that he could skip grades in school. While he joined in the street games and adventures of other children, Gibson also loved to read and spent much of his time absorbed in the lives of fictional characters. His love of writing began at an early age as well. In sixth grade, the budding author started buying notebooks, hoping to fill them with a novel about an uncle killed during wartime. Though he never wrote the novel, his interest in writing never diminished. In spite of his fascination with books, young Gibson did not excel in school. He had little interest in subjects such as arithmetic, science, and history, and he struggled to keep up with his classmates in an accelerated high school. Gibson did experience success with his writing, however, and was published for the first time in a school newspaper after winning a contest. It was the first of several writing awards that he received in high school, and, as a result, the class prophet predicted that he would one day become a Hollywood writer. William Gibson, playwright
  3. 3. Gibson attended the City College of New York for four semesters but, on the bad advice of a teacher, enrolled in a science program that both bored and baffled him. His only inspiration came in literature classes, and it was the praise of a literature professor-coupled with his expulsion from college for not completing any other courses-that finally motivated Gibson to devote his life to writing. It took twenty years before he actually made a living at his chosen profession, however. Until then, Gibson was supported by his wife and occasionally sought income by playing the piano or working other part-time jobs. Besides The Miracle Worker, his most popular play is Two for the Seesaw. Both were produced on Broadway and made into motion pictures. Gibson was actively involved in planning the Broadway productions of these two plays in the late 1950s but became upset over script changes made by the producer and director. In 1982, he wrote a sequel to The Miracle Worker, called Monday after the Miracle, based on the life of Helen Keller as a college student with Annie Sullivan as her tutor and translator. William Gibson died November 27, 2008. He was 94 and had lived in Stockbridge, Mass.
  4. 4. Anne Sullivan Born on April 14, 1866, in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts, Anne Sullivan was a gifted teacher best known for her work with Helen Keller, a deaf, blind, and mute child she taught to communicate. At only 21 years of age, Sullivan showed great maturity and ingenuity in teaching Keller and worked hard with her pupil, bringing both women much acclaim. Sullivan even helped Keller write her autobiography. Helen Keller
  5. 5. • Anne Sullivan’s parents immigrated to the United States from Ireland during the Great Famine of the 1840s. The couple had five children, but two died in their infancy. • Sullivan and her two surviving siblings grew up in impoverished conditions, and struggled with health problems. At the age of five, Anne contracted an eye disease called trachoma, which severely damaged her sight. Her mother, Alice, suffered from tuberculosis and had difficulty getting around after a serious fall. She died when Anne was eight years old. • Even at an early age, Sullivan had a strong-willed personality. She sometimes clashed with her father, Thomas, who was left to raise Sullivan and her siblings after their mother's death. Thomas—who was often abusive—eventually abandoned the family. Anne and her infirm younger brother, Jimmie, were sent to live at the Tewksbury Almshouse, a home for the poor. Some reports say that Sullivan also had a sister who was sent to live with relatives.
  6. 6. • Tewksbury Almshouse was dirty, rundown, and overcrowded. Sullivan's brother Jimmie died just months after they arrived there, leaving Anne alone. While at Tewksbury, Sullivan learned about schools for the blind and became determined to get an education as a means to escape poverty. She got her chance when members from a special commission visited the home. After following the group around all day, she worked up the nerve to talk to them about sending her to a special school.
  7. 7. Sullivan left Tewksbury to attend the Perkins School for the Blind in 1880, and underwent surgery to help improve her limited vision. Still, Sullivan faced great challenges while at Perkins. She had never been to school before and lacked social graces, which put her at odds with her peers. Humiliated by her own ignorance, Sullivan had a quick temper and liked to challenge the rules, which got her in trouble with her teachers. She was, however, tremendously bright, and she soon advanced academically. Sullivan did eventually settle down at the school, but she never felt like she fit in there. She did develop close friendships with some of her teachers, including the school's director Michael Anagnos. Chosen as the valedictorian of her class, Sullivan delivered a speech at her June 1886 graduation. She told her fellow students that "duty bids us go forth into active life. Let us go cheerfully, hopefully, and earnestly, and set ourselves to find our especial part.
  8. 8. Anagnos helped Sullivan find a job after graduation. The Keller family had written him looking for a governess for their daughter Helen, who was deaf, blind, and mute. In March 1887, Sullivan traveled to Tuscumbia, Alabama, to work for the Keller family. Sullivan had studied the instruction methods used with Laura Bridgman, a deaf and blind student she had known at Perkins, before going to Alabama.
  9. 9. QUICK FACTS • • • • • • • • • • • • • NAME: Anne Sullivan OCCUPATION: Educator BIRTH DATE: April 14, 1866 DEATH DATE: October 20, 1936 EDUCATION: Perkins School for the Blind PLACE OF BIRTH: Feeding Hills, Massachusetts PLACE OF DEATH: Forest Hills, New York FULL NAME: Johanna Mansfield Sullivan Macy AKA: Johanna Sullivan AKA: Anne Sullivan MAIDEN NAME: Johanna Mansfield Sullivan BEST KNOWN FOR Anne Sullivan was a teacher who, at age 21, taught Helen Keller, who was deaf, mute, and blind, how to communicate and read Braille.
  10. 10. At only 21 years of age, Sullivan showed great maturity and ingenuity in teaching Keller. She wanted to help Keller make associations between words and physical objects, and worked hard with her rather stubborn and spoiled pupil. After isolating Keller from her family in order to better educate her, Sullivan began working to teach Keller how to communicate with the outside world. During one lesson, she finger-spelled the word "water" on one of Keller's hands as she ran water over her student's other hand. Keller finally made her first major breakthrough, connecting the concept of sign language with the objects around her. Thanks to Sullivan's instruction, Keller learned nearly 600 words, most of her multiplication tables, and how to read Braille within a matter of months. Formal portrait of Anne Sullivan taken around the time she first journeyed to Tuscumbia, AL to teach Helen Keller .
  11. 11. News of Sullivan's success with Keller spread, and the Perkins school wrote a report about their progress as a team. Keller became a celebrity because of the report, meeting the likes of Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Mark Twain.
  12. 12. Sullivan decided that Keller could benefit from the Perkins School's program, and the two spent time there off-and-on throughout Anne's adolescence. They also sought aid for Keller's speech at the Wight-Humason School in New York City. When Keller's family could no longer afford to pay Sullivan or manage Helen's school costs, a number of wealthy benefactors—including millionaire Andrew Carnegie—stepped in to help them defray their costs. Despite the physical strain on her own limited sight, Sullivan helped Keller continue her studies at Radcliffe College in 1900. She spelled the contents of class lectures into Keller's hand, and spent hours conveying information from textbooks to her. As a result, Keller became the first deaf-blind person to graduate from college.
  13. 13. Working with Keller on an autobiography, Sullivan met John A. Macy, a Harvard University instructor. Macy helped edit the manuscript, and he fell in love with Sullivan. After refusing several marriage proposals from him, she finally accepted. The two were wed in 1905. Sullivan, however, did not let her marriage affect her life with Keller. She and her husband lived with Keller in a Massachusetts farmhouse. The two women remained inseparable, with Sullivan traveling with Keller on numerous lecture tours. On stage, she helped relay Keller's words to the audience, as Keller had never learned to speak clearly enough to be widely understood.
  14. 14. • By the late 1920s, Sullivan had lost most of her vision. She experienced chronic pain in her right eye, which was then removed to improve her health. For several summers, Sullivan visited Scotland, hoping to restore some of her strength and vitality. • Sullivan died on October 20, 1936, at her home in Forest Hills, New York. Her ashes were placed at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.—a distinct honor, as it is also the final resting place of President Woodrow Wilson and other distinguished individuals. At her funeral, Bishop James E. Freeman said, "Among the great teachers of all time she occupies a commanding and conspicuous place. . . . The touch of her hand did more than illuminate the pathway of a clouded mind; it literally emancipated a soul." • Sullivan's story lives on through film and theatrical productions. Her work with Keller was immortalized in the play The Miracle Worker, which was later turned into the 1962 film starring Patty Duke as Keller and Anne Bancroft as Sullivan. The latest Broadway revival of the show debuted in 2010.
  15. 15. Trachoma Trachoma is an infectious disease caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium which produces a characteristic roughening of the inner surface of the eyelids. Also called granular conjunctivitis and Egyptian ophthalmia, it is the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world. Globally, about 40 million people have an active infection and as many as 8 million people are visually impaired as a result of this disease. Without antibiotics, the only way to remove the granular mass was a scraping operation, which left trauma to the eyes—photosensitivity.
  16. 16. Sullivan's story lives on through film and theatrical productions. Her work with Keller was immortalized in the play The Miracle Worker, which was later turned into the 1962 film starring Patty Duke as Keller and Anne Bancroft as Sullivan. The latest Broadway revival of the show debuted in 2010.
  17. 17. Helen meets President Eisenhower. Helen meets Eleanor Roosevelt
  18. 18. Helen Keller Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She became the icon for the handicapped person. She travels the world and gives lectures on the value of all humans and the importance of education. Helen writes several books which include The Story of My Life, Light in My Darkness, and Teacher.
  19. 19. Braille Alphabet
  20. 20. Annie Sullivan devoted the rest of her life to Helen Keller.
  21. 21. Sullivan's story lives on through film and theatrical productions. Her work with Keller was immortalized in the play The Miracle Worker, starring Anne Bancroft as Sullivan. First written for television and aired in 1957, “The Miracle Worker” was adapted for Broadway in 1959 and won the 1960 Tony Award for best play.
  22. 22. Patty Duke with the real Helen Keller. Helen Keller and Patty Duke -- For those who do not get the significance of this meeting -Patty Duke played Keller in both the play and the film The Miracle Worker, for which she won the Oscar at age 16. Two extraordinary women. Then when Patty Duke got older she played Anne Sullivan as an adult; Anne Sullivan was Helen's teacher.
  23. 23. Dramatis Personae Helen Keller Annie Sullivan Captain Keller Kate Keller James Keller Anagnos Aunt Ev Doctor Viney Percy Martha Blind Children Jimmie’s voice The Crones
  24. 24. Setting: The Keller Homestead, Ivy Green, Tuscumbia, Alabama The pump is a focal point on the stage.
  25. 25. Antagonist: Helen Protagonist: Annie
  26. 26. An inauspicious first meeting between Helen and Annie.
  27. 27. Conflicts • Man v. nature—Helen had a high fever when she was 18+ months old which left her blind, deaf, and mute. • Man v. man—Annie fights with Helen; James fights with his father, Helen fights with everyone; Kate and Capt. Keller’s arguments • Man v. himself—Helen is frustrated being locked within herself with no way to communicate; Annie doubts herself constantly and is haunted by her past • Man v. society—handicapped persons were often shut away in institutions like animals, with no help or hope. Annie is a Yankee!
  28. 28. • Man v. himself— Helen is frustrated being locked within herself with no way to communicate; she wants to be like everyone else.
  29. 29. Annie has her own ghosts to bury. Her past of poverty, blindness of trachoma, rats, cadavers, and the loss of her little brother, Jimmie…. Annie has to overcome her past, her Yankee/Irish background, her youth, the fact that no one has ever taught a multiple-handicapped child… “How can an inexperienced half-blind Yankee schoolgirl manage her?”
  30. 30. Annie must undo all of Helen’s bad habits. Captain Keller, Aunt Ev, James Keller, and baby Mildred Kate struggles to console an out-of-control Helen.
  31. 31. “I treat her like a seeing child because I ask her to see; I expect her to see, don’t undo what I do!”
  32. 32. The last battle—then the miracle.
  33. 33. Main Climax: “Wah, Wah”— Helen connects that words are names for things.
  34. 34. Other Climaxes • James stands up to Keller. • Kate and Keller get their daughter back. • Annie’s voices go away and she learns to love again.
  35. 35. Denouement: Helen asks Annie her name and hands over the key. Annie Responds with “Teacher” And “I love Helen— Forever and ever.”
  36. 36. Exposition • Opening scene—provides the info on the illness that harms Helen. • Annie’s background, her tough childhood, her loss of brother Jimmie, and struggles with school. Kate is Keller’s second wife, and Helen is her firstborn. Kate is not that much older than James. Mildred is just an infant. • Captain Keller was a captain in the Confederate army during the Civil War. He runs the local newspaper in Tuscumbia.
  37. 37. Foreshadowing Annie has never taught before; in fact, she was a tough student herself with more battles than the Confederates. No one has ever taught a multiple handicapped child before. Annie is young—with Irish determination and lots of energy to physically battle Helen’s stubborn tantrums. Annie is just as stubborn as Helen. Helen was a bright child—speaking early…before the illness robbed her of her sight and hearing. “Did you know she began talking when she was only six months old? She could say water. Well, not really. Wah-wah. But she meant water! She knew what it meant at only six months old! I never saw a child so bright or outgoing!” She is like a little safe, locked, that no one can open. Perhaps there is a treasure inside.”
  38. 38. Flashback The voices from Annie’s past—the old crones and her brother Jimmie’s voice saying that she promised they’d be together forever and ever.
  39. 39. • “Old Stonewall indeed!” • “One blind child to teach another” • Kate promises to help by not interfering with Annie, but the Captain interferes. • “The room’s a wreck but her napkin is folded…” • Helen hides the key by dropping it down the well, never knowing that Annie is watching her. • Helen “teaches” the dog, Belle, to sign. Irony
  40. 40. Helen will not play the finger game with Annie, but she gets jealous when Annie plays it with Percy.
  41. 41. Dramatic Irony James brings the ladder around to rescue Annie after Helen has locked her in the room, but the Captain yells at him, so he starts to take it back…
  42. 42. Symbolism • • • • • • • • The pump Keys/Open doors Sign language Helen’s motion meaning “Mother” Annie’s voices from the past The buttons The doll with the open/close eyes The battles between Annie/Helen, Captain/James, etc. • Annie’s voices from the past
  43. 43. Themes • • • • • • • • • • • Annie says that God owes her a resurrection. There is power and magic in language. Hope & Determination Discipline & Obedience v. Understanding & Comprehension Manners & Customs Motivation & Self-Understanding Dedication to a Cause Family Systems & Outsiders Pity v. Love Places of Learning & Change Tactile Learning & Sign Language
  44. 44. The first time her parents communicate with her; The Kellers get their daughter back. Percy gets Annie back “in touch” with Helen in the summer house.