A play written by William Gibson dramatizing the story of Helen Keller's early life.

The Story

The story starts with Helen Keller's parents realizing she was blind, and continues to tell of Annie Sullivan being called and arriving at their home in the South.

A majority of the play is about Annie's efforts to teach Helen. In the beginning most of the efforts fail. Annie is faced with tantrum-like behavior until she takes extreme measures and stays alone with Helen in a hunting lodge of the Keller family to have total control over her. Following that Annie appears to get Helen to behave, but not understand language beyond "do this and get that".

The play ends with Annie making a breakthrough (the so-called miracle) to Helen. This occurs at the water pump outside the house where Helen remembers the word `water' from her very early childhood, and then understands how the words Annie spells in ASL symbolize objects.


The most easily noticed subplot in the play is that of Annie being in conflict over abandoning her brother from an orphanage when she was young, and experiencing auditory hallucinations related to it.

Also, there is a change in the character of James Keller, who is the around twenty-year old half-brother of Helen. At the beginning of the play he is very uncaring and sarcastic, still angry over his father re-marrying. Most notably, he lets Helen lock Annie in a room and keep her there for a while despite easily being able to have remedied the situation. At the end, he stands up for Helen and stops his father from interfering with Annie's efforts to teach her, especially at the end when the "miracle" happens.


... for those who like that sort of thing.

The best example of symbolism in this play is with keys. As alluded to earlier in this writeup, Helen locks Annie in a room in the upstairs of the house near the beginning of the story. Later, Annie locks doors to control and contain Helen. At the end of the story, Helen takes the keys from the door and gives them to her mother. Later after the "miracle" occurs, Helen takes the keys from her mother and gives them to Annie.