on May 2, 2003
The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, is a dramatic play retelling the once lived lives of the exceptional Annie Sullivan and her young pupil, Helen Keller.
The story revolves around Helen, a young 12 yr old deaf/blind mute who has been forced to grow up in a world which has denied her language and understanding. Her family includes her father- Arthur Keller, known as "Captain," a retired army officer, who has a need to be in control of situations, her mother- Kate Keller, who displays the most affection to the girl, "her Helen" whom she can deny nothing from, and finally, her half brother- James Keller, whose sarcastic remarks and slight jealousy toward Helen are made apparent throughout the story. All are dumbfounded by her condition, and continue to spoil her with their pity and attempt to control her actions with "treats," such as candy or cake. The end-result, leaving Helen to resemble that of a "wild creature," doing as she pleases and relying on all of her instincts- including anger and rage when not getting her way.
This is where Annie Sullivan comes in. Partially blind herself, Annie, a young woman in her twenties, is hired by the Kellers in attempts to help control Helen and to "tame" her uncivilized behavior. Haunted by her dark past, but strong-willed nonetheless, Annie takes this mission full on-and a difficult one it turns out to be. These two girls go head to head, testing each other's wits and pushing each other to their limit. In the end, though, they learn from one another and obtain a newly-found respect for each other.
This inspirational story touches the heart and awakens the senses within the readers-just as Helen learns to do. It takes you into an unimaginable journey, through which a child, who knows no sight, nor sound, not even a language, learns how to find her voice, with the help of a teacher who never gave up.
It was a very compelling story, impossible for me to put down. I would definitely recommend this book for everyone. It puts things into perspective, and reminds you of the many things in your life, which are constantly taken for granted. This story also proves, that once again, determination and persistence can pay off. Everyone should be so lucky, as to have someone like Annie there to help you find your own voice.
on November 12, 2002
The book The Miracle Worker by William Gibson is written exceptionally. It is about Helen Keller (def/blind child) and how she is taught how to communicate.
Her teacher was a woman named Annie Sullivan. The story is told from Annie's view in the first person. Throughout the book Annie tries different methods of teaching Helen how to communicate. Finally, one method of hers works. At this point Helen understands that objects have names. By memorizing the hand motions (sign language) previously Helen knows the names for everything.
Because Helen can't talk, hear or see William Gibson describes everything she does in great detail. This gives the reader many visuals in their mind while they are reading. You can almost see Helen feeling things and you can also get a picture in your mind of what she looks like. At the beginning of the book, we don't really know what to think of Helen and Annie because of some of their actions. Helen as anyone could imagine is not well behaved and is a mess. Annie is very strict with Helen and other than getting very upset when Helen disobeys her she is a pretty quiet person. However, as the book goes on we learn to love both of these characters because we understand where they are coming from.
I would strongly recommend reading this book to gain a greater appreciation for the lives of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.
on February 27, 2002
Fantastic play!!!! The real suffering of everyone involved is sooo real! It's inspiring because it details the struggle to overcome serious handicaps. Annie is my absolute favorite character. I love the scenes with her & despite her own set of problems, like being blind herself & having terrible flashbacks & nightmares about her horrifying childhood, she gets her heart into getting Helen in touch with the world. Anne is one courageous lady!!! Even though I hear she was very modest about her accomplishments, Anne still deserves the honor of being remembered as the miracle worker of all time. I love how she persisted even though the rest of the Kellers were just content to have Helen "trained." Anne wanted Helen to be free to live like a real independent human being & it's so touching how she became attached to the little girl even though Helen was VERY difficult to handle, knocking out two of Annie's teeth & locking her in the room, then later battling with her at the breakfast table. And through it all, poor Annie struggles with trachoma hurting her eyes as well as being haunted by the death of her brother James. Of course, having James Keller around to make stupid remarks doesn't help either & I often felt like telling him to shut up. I get the feeling that there was a real power struggle between Arthur Keller & Anne too. I think Kate wanted to stand by Anne, but was didn't want to oppose her husband, whom along with everyone else, called him "Captain." I mentally cheered inside when Anne gets a chance to be alone with Helen, then later when she finally gets through to Helen about language! Anne really worked hard for that & I get the feeling that even though Kate & Arthur fell all over her thanking her at first because she'd "tamed" Helen, I read that later they really didn't appreciate Anne going the extra mile for them & teaching Helen to be independent & that's too bad because they really missed out on what Annie could have taught THEM and brought to their lives. Here's to you, Anne Sullivan!
on December 6, 2001
The Miracle Worker was a great and inspirational story.
This is one of my favorite books to read. The story tells of a young, blind, deaf girl who doesn't understand the ways of life or how to communicate with others. Her family is hopeles in teaching her, but do not want to send her away in fear of what will happen to her. Helen's family then hears of a women who can help her, Anne Sullivan. They ask if she can come to teach Helen. Anne trys to teach Helen, but Helen has already taught herself how to act, and is unwilling to learn from anyone else. Well, Anne was not going to give up on her as easily as the rest of Helen's family. Anne wanted Helen to know what all the things around her meant, and not see them as dark and quiet as they appeared. Unfortunately, Anne was not able to teach Helen as well as she wanted to with Helen's whole family around, she needed to be alone with her for as long as possible. So Anne took Helen to a countryside house to start her private lessons. As for the rest of the story you have to read it for yourself.
on October 28, 2001
"The Miracle Worker," a play by William Gibson, has had an enduring presence as a piece of living literature. It appeared on Broadway during the 1959-60 dramatic season, was made into a motion picture a couple of years later, and then was remade as a television movie for the 1979-80 season. The play's genesis lies in the real story of Helen Keller (1880-1968), the woman who was struck deaf and blind by illness at the age of 19 months. "The Miracle Worker" tells how a young Helen was led out of her prison of silence and darkness by the remarkable Anne Sullivan, who set out to teach the girl sign language.
"The Miracle Worker" is a truly great play. Gibson brilliantly takes the historical facts of Keller's childhood (many of which can be found in "The Story of My Life," Keller's 1902 autobiography) and turns them into a suspenseful, profoundly moving piece of theater. Although the core of the play is the fiery relationship between Sullivan and the wildly undisciplined Helen, Gibson's drama takes in the entire Keller household. I was particularly moved by the relationship between "Miss Annie" and Helen's frustrated but devoted mother.
"The Miracle Worker" is remarkable because much of the story is told not in dialogue, but in Gibson's stage directions. This is one of those plays which is not only powerful in performance, but also a gripping read.
Gibson's play is one of those great examples of a drama that takes real American life stories and turns them into enduring art; in that sense, it is comparable to such great works as "The Crucible," by Arthur Miller, or "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail," by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.
"The Miracle Worker" is not only a compelling human drama, but also a reflection on courage, love, education, and the transcendent power of language. As an interesting complementary text, I recommend Octavia Butler's science fiction story "Speech Sounds" (which can be found in Butler's book "Bloodchild and Other Stories").
on August 5, 2001
Based on a true story, The Miracle Worker is a poignant drama exposing the childhood struggles and feats of Helen Keller. Keller's life story is widely regarded as one of the most inspirational triumphs of the human spirit in American history. This modern drama is a near perfect rendition of Keller's early years on a homestead farm in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
As the play begins, Kate Keller discovers that her child, Helen, cannot hear nor see her. A period of time elapses, and the family is trying to decide what they should do for Helen. After a bit of reluctance, Captain Keller consents to writing to Dr. Chisholm, an oculist who might be able to help her. It turns out that the oculist cannot help Helen, but he does contact Alexander Graham Bell, who in turn refers the Kellers to the Perkins Institute for the Blind. The Institute sends to the Kellers Annie Sullivan, a teacher who will attempt to communicate with Helen. Annie's first day with Helen is rough, as Helen ends up locking Annie in her room and throwing away the key. Eventually, Annie is able to finger-spell into Helen's hand, but Helen doesn't quite understand what the words mean. When Annie tries to discipline Helen, Helen gets mad and won't let Annie touch her. This prompts Annie to ask for two weeks alone with Helen in the Kellers' garden house. Once again, after great reluctance, Captain Keller assents. The two weeks pass and Helen still hasn't learned what words mean. Annie asks for more time alone with Helen, but the Kellers refuse and insist on bringing her back into the house. The reader is left wondering what will happen and reads on, awestruck, as Helen begins to make tremendous progress.
Besides educating the public about an important cultural icon, The Miracle Worker also promotes handicap awareness. I believe that this play can be used as a tool to teach children about accepting people with disabilities. As a disabled person myself, I testify to Keller's strength and every time I think of Keller, I am continually reminded at what I have accomplished in life despite tremendous difficulty. I'm sure that anyone who has ever been faced with an unusually tough set of circumstances will cherish this story, regardless of age, sex, or interests. As I said before, it's all about the human spirit -- if Keller's story doesn't inspire you to accomplish more in life, I doubt that anything will.
on December 2, 2000
This play, which was the basis for three movies (1961, 1979 and 2000) is a well written dramatization of Helen Keller's life prior to her teacher, Anne Sullivan's arrival. Blind and deaf since infancy, Helen had no ready access to communication. Enter Annie, a Perkins School for the Blind alum who strives to teach her rebellious young charge the manual alphabet as well as rudimentary table manners. As well as this work is written, it, like so many other works on Helen Keller, lags at that darn water pump where Helen finally learns that all things have a name. The momentum that pushed the story along comes to a grinding halt at that tired water pump scene.
It is a let down that this play stalls at this point because Helen and Annie had such an interesting impact on history based on their work and lives together. I would have rated this 5 stars, but the play lags and drags at that darn water pump and gives minimal attention to Helen's linguistic/cognitive progress from that minute forward. It seems kind of sad that so many works about Helen get lost at the water pump, never to move forward.
on December 27, 1999
I started loving this story 30 years ago. The Truth in it is stronger than ever! I understand why children love it. There are healthy standards, it is full of hope for the future, in spite of the difficulties that lurk all around. This story is an excellent symbol to all of us who are, in any way, disabled. Be it blindness, deafness, poverty, abuse survivor, depression, you name it. When we have been allowed to be strong-willed and determined to do things our own way, even if it totally grosses out and/or destroys everyone around us, especially those we love. Anti-social behavior can be as deadly to the person exhibiting the behavior as walking in the street and ignoring the traffic! The symbolism of how the Truth enters one's mind when the person is ready to learn, applies to every person on earth. This is so beautifully presented by the teacher's determination and the student's grasping and taking hold of the knowledge. Thus, proving Helen's intellegence and desire. Desire to live a fuller life then before meeting her match in Anne Sullivan.
She met someone that wouldn't patronize her, but would give her the tools she needed to live, long after her exhausted family went on to meet their maker.
This is one of my favorite books because it makes me look at myself. What do I do that is selfish and bothersome to those around me that I can give up? And are there tools out there that can help me contribute to the world around me?
on June 25, 2002
The Miracle Worker is the astonishing tale of a blind and deaf cypherpunk named Helen who overcomes her disabilities with the help of a chopshop worker-turned-doctor named Anne. Helen lost her sight and hearing in a hacking session gone horribly wrong. She flatlines, but Anne brings her back from certain death.
After a lot of soul-searching, Helen is able to netrun once again. Anne develops specialized wetware, turning Helen into a cyborg.
Helen's first interactions with Black ICE in this new form are nailbitingly tense. It's only with the help of Anne that Helen is able to confront her own personal daemons.
The Miracle Worker is a welcome addition to the cyberpunk genre, and I highly recommend it. William Gibson is to be commended.
on November 10, 1999
I enjoyed this book because the book has really good charecters in it it and they are really active.And the book is also very funny because the charecters like helen do very funny things, like helen eats off of other peoples plate and she is always mad happy or sad or she is always hitting people. It is also funny when Helen tries to show people when she is happy or sad because she is handycap it makes it look funny. The book and the movie is almost word for word.There are a lot of charecters in the book so sometimes it is hard to keep track of who is talking and who is doing what. But it is a good book and i think some people will like it better than other people would.