The Miracle Worker - February 09 - February 11, 2018

West Ottawa High School

 End Notes 

“Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbour was.”

― Helen Keller, The Story of My Life 


This is how Helen Keller describes her childhood before Annie Sullivan arrived. Annie was Helen’s teacher, but so much more than that— she was a playmate, a friend, a nurturer and eventually a lifelong companion. Gibson’s play is called The Miracle Worker, but this is Helen’s play as much as it is Annie’s—it took the two of them to make a miracle.  Annie saw a strong and able mind hidden away in a wild, precocious child.  She was able to help Helen find her way out of the darkness and into a world of wonder, knowledge, and love despite her disability.


There was a time not many years ago when people with disabilities were marginalized by society. As the play develops, we learn the difficulties the Keller family had with their daughter Helen for the first six years of her life due to the illness which left her blind and deaf. At the time, little was known concerning the ability of such children to be educated, although some progress was being made in both the Eastern United States and Europe. 


A poignant moment in The Miracle Worker occurs when Helen’s older brother James suggests his sister be placed in an institution. Unfortunately, at the time many such disabled individuals, regardless of the cause of their disability, were placed in institutions where their overall care was abysmal and efforts at education were nil. Annie Sullivan makes such reference to the condition of the alms house she was sent to, telling Helen’s mother Kate how dreadful the conditions were in such institutions.


Aside from the wonderful story of the relationship between Annie and Helen, The Miracle Worker underscores how people with disabilities, if given the opportunity, can be educated. Through perseverance and determination, many develop skills that enable them to live productive lives within their societies. Such people have different learning styles which requiring different methods of education, but they learn nevertheless.



We hope this poignant tale of a young, lost girl who finds her way back into the world through the guidance of a caring and patient teacher, works its way into your hearts as much as it has our own.  It is with pride that West Ottawa High School Theater bring you this dramatized telling of the story of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan.


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