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The Miracle Worker: A Play

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NO ONE COULD REACH HER. Twelve-year-old Helen Keller lived in a prison of silence and darkness. Born deaf, blind, and mute, with no way to express herself or comprehend those around her, she flew into primal rages against anyone who tried to help her, fighting tooth and nail with a strength born of furious, unknowing desperation. Then Annie Sullivan came. Half-blind herself NO ONE COULD REACH HER. Twelve-year-old Helen Keller lived in a prison of silence and darkness. Born deaf, blind, and mute, with no way to express herself or comprehend those around her, she flew into primal rages against anyone who tried to help her, fighting tooth and nail with a strength born of furious, unknowing desperation. Then Annie Sullivan came. Half-blind herself, but possessing an almost fanatical determination, she would begin a frightening and incredibly moving struggle to tame the wild girl no one could reach, and bring Helen into the world at last....


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NO ONE COULD REACH HER. Twelve-year-old Helen Keller lived in a prison of silence and darkness. Born deaf, blind, and mute, with no way to express herself or comprehend those around her, she flew into primal rages against anyone who tried to help her, fighting tooth and nail with a strength born of furious, unknowing desperation. Then Annie Sullivan came. Half-blind herself NO ONE COULD REACH HER. Twelve-year-old Helen Keller lived in a prison of silence and darkness. Born deaf, blind, and mute, with no way to express herself or comprehend those around her, she flew into primal rages against anyone who tried to help her, fighting tooth and nail with a strength born of furious, unknowing desperation. Then Annie Sullivan came. Half-blind herself, but possessing an almost fanatical determination, she would begin a frightening and incredibly moving struggle to tame the wild girl no one could reach, and bring Helen into the world at last....

30 review for The Miracle Worker: A Play

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    "No One Could Reach Her" I went to this play and read this book when I was in grade 4. It had a huge impact on me. It was all I could talk about for weeks. I wanted to go see it again and again. It will always be one of my favorite plays. Another friend just posted a review of Helen Keller's autobiography and I look forward to reading that one too. I would love to see this play with my daughter. I remember watching as Helen got so upset when she couldn't express herself and fought those who tried "No One Could Reach Her" I went to this play and read this book when I was in grade 4. It had a huge impact on me. It was all I could talk about for weeks. I wanted to go see it again and again. It will always be one of my favorite plays. Another friend just posted a review of Helen Keller's autobiography and I look forward to reading that one too. I would love to see this play with my daughter. I remember watching as Helen got so upset when she couldn't express herself and fought those who tried to help. The rages she flew into. I was transfixed by all of it. Hired by Helen's family, Annie Sullivan starts to work with Helen and slowly helps her learn to communicate and express herself. This was no easy task. Helen lashed out at Annie (apparently even knocking a couple of Annie's teeth out during a rage). However, Annie was determined to help this girl who she had grown to love. She was not only going to help Helen communicate but also to live. I remember some of the boys teasing me because I was crying and usually I would have been so upset but I barely heard them. After we saw the play we read the story in class. As I got older I read it a few more times and always found it so inspirational and heartwarming. Such a wonderful memory.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    One of my favorite plays... the story of Anne Sullivan breaking through the darkness and silence of Helen Keller's world to teach her the very concept of language. It reads incredibly well, but if you must see it in action, check out the classic film version with Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke and absolutely DO NOT WATCH THE REMAKE. It is craptacular to the extreme. I just finished a run at the Hale Center Theater in Orem playing Helen Keller's mother Kate and it positively changed my life forever One of my favorite plays... the story of Anne Sullivan breaking through the darkness and silence of Helen Keller's world to teach her the very concept of language. It reads incredibly well, but if you must see it in action, check out the classic film version with Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke and absolutely DO NOT WATCH THE REMAKE. It is craptacular to the extreme. I just finished a run at the Hale Center Theater in Orem playing Helen Keller's mother Kate and it positively changed my life forever. I do love a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. FAVORITE MONOLOGUE: (Anne Sullivan) I wanted to teach you--oh, everything the earth is full of, Helen, everything on it that's ours for a wink and it's gone, and what we are on it, the--light we bring to it and leave behind in--words, why, you can see five thousand years back in a light of words, everything we feel, think, know--and share, in words, so not a soul is in darkness, or done with, even in the grave.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Himanshu Karmacharya

    "For two weeks. I’ll give you two weeks in this place, and it will be a miracle if you get the child to tolerate you. " Tasked with an extraordinary challenge, Anne Sullivan set out to teach Helen Keller, the fundamentals of language and discipline. Inspiring and heartwarming, The Miracle Worker makes the readers feel like miracles are indeed real. "For two weeks. I’ll give you two weeks in this place, and it will be a miracle if you get the child to tolerate you. " Tasked with an extraordinary challenge, Anne Sullivan set out to teach Helen Keller, the fundamentals of language and discipline. Inspiring and heartwarming, The Miracle Worker makes the readers feel like miracles are indeed real.

  4. 4 out of 5

    S61

    This was a fun read but it could be dry and reading it as a script from a play was a little strange for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily Dybdahl

    I think I must have read this play back in middle school or high school, but then forgot I read it. It is very much worth a re-read. It is such a beautiful and moving true story and it means more to me now that I have little children of my own and think about it from a mother's perspective. I want to read more of the story of Annie Sullivan now as well and what happened to her poor little brother. I'm so glad I decided to (re-) read this one! I think I must have read this play back in middle school or high school, but then forgot I read it. It is very much worth a re-read. It is such a beautiful and moving true story and it means more to me now that I have little children of my own and think about it from a mother's perspective. I want to read more of the story of Annie Sullivan now as well and what happened to her poor little brother. I'm so glad I decided to (re-) read this one!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was a reread, I read it in 8th grade for English class and then we got to go see the play. I reread this for a prompt on a challenge I'm doing and the prompt was a book you read in school. I loved this just as much as I did in 8th grade. Such a great story. This was a reread, I read it in 8th grade for English class and then we got to go see the play. I reread this for a prompt on a challenge I'm doing and the prompt was a book you read in school. I loved this just as much as I did in 8th grade. Such a great story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    if annie sullivan and helen keller can do what they did.....well, stop complaining.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    My paternal grandmother lived in Kansas City in the early 20th century. The music halls in Kansas City were cheap and accessible in those days, and many widely-known figures would come to play in Kansas City. Helen Keller was one of those players. My grandmother said that Helen had to have an interpreter present on stage, not only to convey questions to her, but to interpret her spoken words, since Helen never really mastered speaking well enough to be understood by strangers. At the times my gr My paternal grandmother lived in Kansas City in the early 20th century. The music halls in Kansas City were cheap and accessible in those days, and many widely-known figures would come to play in Kansas City. Helen Keller was one of those players. My grandmother said that Helen had to have an interpreter present on stage, not only to convey questions to her, but to interpret her spoken words, since Helen never really mastered speaking well enough to be understood by strangers. At the times my grandmother saw Helen, the companion was not her beloved Teacher, but Helen's sister, Mildred. I've read many versions of Helen's story, and so I'm not sure whether the significance of this sister is included in the play. As Helen herself later recounted, Helen came in and found her baby sister lying in the crib Helen was accustomed to put her own doll in. Helen unceremoniously dumped her sister out of the cradle (fortunately, somebody witnessed the incident, and caught the baby as she fell), and put her doll in the cradle. It was this incident that made the already frantic efforts of Helen's family to get a cure for her all the more desperate. It was because her family had refused to believe there was no cure for her blindness and deafness that they had insisted on a cure INSTEAD of having her educated. Really she should have begun getting tuition immediately after she lost her sight and hearing (at 19 months). It wouldn't have done any harm even if she were curable, but if there was no cure, it was essential. When they reached the stage of desperation, they took Helen to see Dr Alexander Graham Bell, who agreed with other doctors that Helen's disabilities were not curable: but who pointed out that it was possible to educate her. The play tells more about Annie Sullivan's history than most sources (taken from her letters, probably), though it doesn't go on to deal with other things (such as that Annie was not 'formerly' blind. She had to tend her eyes very carefully even in this period, and had to have operations to restore her sight several times afterward), because they're after the period of the story. I have to say that I do understand the urgency of the situation. Though it's not true that Helen had learned nothing before (she had developed a sort of gestural pidgin, which was probably more effective than anybody gives it credit for), if it had been left much longer, it's doubtful Helen would have been able to develop the remarkable linguistic skills she later had. She might have been able to learn a little language (Laura Bridgman, the first recipient of training in fingerspelling, was limited in her linguistic capacities, and this may be because she was already eight when her teaching began), but it's unlikely that Helen would have gotten as good at it as she did. Nevertheless, I can't go along with the people who argue that the cruel treatment Annie meted out was justifiable. Granted, Annie was quite young at the time, and she hadn't really been given much training in education methods. But still...there were no doubt better ways to teach even an obstinate child like Helen. A preliminary study of the pidgin Helen and her family had developed would have been a good start. The 'miracle' in the title is well-described by Helen in her own works. It's a little disturbing that the vital word had to go back to Helen's early verbalizations, however. Helen had, after all, her own sign for 'mother'. But it's interesting in another way. Most children's realization that language has meaning happen so early they don't remember it: Helen, at seven, remembered it clearly, and was able to reduce it to very evocative words. In fact, focusing on the 'miracle', however much of a breakthrough it truly was, in many ways falsifies the picture. Except when Helen insisted on learning to speak (because she wanted to be able to communicate with people who didn't understand fingerspelling), Annie Sullivan was involved, as translator, tutor, and aide, in all of Helen's vigorous attempts at self-education through college. Annie insisted that she couldn't teach speech to Helen, so it was farmed out. But one thing that Annie DID teach Helen in this period was how to read and write. This was done not only via Braille, but also with a form of block printing, and with type-like wooden blocks; and later, Helen learned to use a typewriter. Helen's first letters were as crude and inept as most of her age-mates'. But she very soon mastered the smooth literary style that made her so skilled at communicating. The main problem with this play is that it leaves Helen frozen in time as the electrified child. Helen Keller turned seven in 1887, and she didn't die until 1968, a few weeks before her 88th birthday. She wrote the classic Story of My Life to help pay for her college education. She was quite renowned in her childhood (she was friends with Mark Twain, who died in 1911), but her life didn't end with her childhood. One measure of how little the real woman was known is that people either never knew, or forget, that the adult Helen was a co-founder of the ACLU. Helen Keller was never in her life the 'angel on the hearth' of Victorian fantasies. She didn't stop being strong-willed when she learned to communicate: frustration didn't make her stubborn; rather stubbornness made her frustrated, since she wouldn't give up, and couldn't succeed. Mastering language help alleviate the frustration, but not the obstinacy. In her later life, Keller became a fairly well-known advocate of radical causes: but this fact is often ignored in stories about her. A postscript added to the play might not go amiss--or an introduction with further information. I'm pretty sure the edition I read (which I don't think was this one) didn't have this sort of biographical information.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I read this years ago. I have always been interested in Helen Keller's life. I find her to be a remarkable lady. "The Miracle Worker" is a play. a well known one that still has productions today. it is about Helen when she is six years old. blind and deaf and acts like a "wild child" Annie Sullivan is hired to teach her. over the month she tries to teach Helen language throughfinger spelling. Helen must also learn manners and to behave in a more acceptable way. a tall order for Annie Sullivan wh I read this years ago. I have always been interested in Helen Keller's life. I find her to be a remarkable lady. "The Miracle Worker" is a play. a well known one that still has productions today. it is about Helen when she is six years old. blind and deaf and acts like a "wild child" Annie Sullivan is hired to teach her. over the month she tries to teach Helen language throughfinger spelling. Helen must also learn manners and to behave in a more acceptable way. a tall order for Annie Sullivan who has had many eye surgeries to have sight. this is a wonderful play and the fact that it is based on real life people and facts from their lives it is a wonderful book. I have seen the miracle worker on stage and the wonderful movie version with Patty Duke and Ann Bancroft reprising their stage roles. a very good play. if anyone finds Helen Keller's and her teacher Annie Sullivan life this is a great play.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Esther | lifebyesther

    GENERAL: - focuses on Anne Sullivan and her early efforts in educating Helen Keller - encouraged me to add Keller's autobiography to my tbr LIKES: - extremely moving, extremely powerful. - the added part about Keller's half-brother, James, was interesting. I wasn't expecting that. - Similarly, the part about Sullivan's brother, Jimmie, was extremely moving and artfully set up. DISLIKES: - the story was the compelling aspect, not the writing. - I wish the pacing had been different. The whole narrative was GENERAL: - focuses on Anne Sullivan and her early efforts in educating Helen Keller - encouraged me to add Keller's autobiography to my tbr LIKES: - extremely moving, extremely powerful. - the added part about Keller's half-brother, James, was interesting. I wasn't expecting that. - Similarly, the part about Sullivan's brother, Jimmie, was extremely moving and artfully set up. DISLIKES: - the story was the compelling aspect, not the writing. - I wish the pacing had been different. The whole narrative was moving towards one singular moment, and after that moment happened, the play abruptly ended. - I also wish there was more about James. He was so angry throughout the whole play, and provided such a different perspective than the other characters. I wish they had focused in on him more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This play brings back a lot of memories for me. I acted in a production of it in high school. I played a bit part, spoke a single line, and was on stage for one scene. But it was a big thrill to be involved in it, and gave me a love of acting which persists to this day.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Poppy

    Fine!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Slayermel

    This is the story of Helen Keller who was born a healthy little girl, but after falling ill with a childhood ailment she becomes Blind, Deaf and Mute. I found the story very touching, especially as someone who works with children. The Keller family hires Annie Sullivan to come and help teach Helen, and they are surprised to find Annie herself suffered from Blindness and is only 20 years old. Annie had her work cut out for her as Helen had been so spoiled and lacked all forms of discipline as the This is the story of Helen Keller who was born a healthy little girl, but after falling ill with a childhood ailment she becomes Blind, Deaf and Mute. I found the story very touching, especially as someone who works with children. The Keller family hires Annie Sullivan to come and help teach Helen, and they are surprised to find Annie herself suffered from Blindness and is only 20 years old. Annie had her work cut out for her as Helen had been so spoiled and lacked all forms of discipline as the parents felt sorry for her and indulged her every little whim. This caused Helen to turn out wild and more like an animal then a little girl. Annie not only had to find a way to get through to Helen, but also to re-teach the family how to deal with the child, and how to change their views on what Helen is capable of. This is a fabulous story, and it’s very inspiring. Never judge a book by its cover. I remember having to read this in High School as well, and I had completely forgotten all about it until I picked it up again at a bargain book store. I think I enjoyed it more this second time around. Being older and having more of an understanding and appreciation for the difficulties that Helen, Annie and the other members of the family actually went through. This is a very fast read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    The Miracle Worker by William Gibson film only pub 1956 autumn 2012 play dramatisation The film, starring Anne Bancroft came out in 1962. Forty years on, those methods would not be allowed. The full film is on YouTube: http://youtu.be/556xz3Mw7rw 3* The Miracle Worker by William Gibson film only pub 1956 autumn 2012 play dramatisation The film, starring Anne Bancroft came out in 1962. Forty years on, those methods would not be allowed. The full film is on YouTube: http://youtu.be/556xz3Mw7rw 3*

  15. 4 out of 5

    Toria

    I wanted something short to nibble on and because I knew a little about Hellen Keller and Annie Sullivan I decided to pick it up. I wasn't prepared for this to be so intense. Even if it's a play it's has such an intense force to it and it's very moving. I would love to see this play someday. Have started picking up plays recently but haven't really watched them in real life I wanted something short to nibble on and because I knew a little about Hellen Keller and Annie Sullivan I decided to pick it up. I wasn't prepared for this to be so intense. Even if it's a play it's has such an intense force to it and it's very moving. I would love to see this play someday. Have started picking up plays recently but haven't really watched them in real life

  16. 4 out of 5

    Iman Danial Hakim

    This book deserves a long and extensive review; and I will do it in the near future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Denice Miller

    This book is play written about Helen Keller's early years, her struggles, and the success she finally experiences because of the determination of her noble Miss Sullivan. Great book. Then you can see the movie with Patty Duke as Helen. This book is play written about Helen Keller's early years, her struggles, and the success she finally experiences because of the determination of her noble Miss Sullivan. Great book. Then you can see the movie with Patty Duke as Helen.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Haley S

    Well, it's kind of biography and kind of historical but it is SUPER good!! I really liked it!! I recommend this one to everyone!!! A must read! Well, it's kind of biography and kind of historical but it is SUPER good!! I really liked it!! I recommend this one to everyone!!! A must read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lexi C.

    This was surprisingly very good. I don't usually like nonfiction but this story was incredibly written and expressed the characters very well. This was surprisingly very good. I don't usually like nonfiction but this story was incredibly written and expressed the characters very well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    andrea ✨

    Read this for english class. It was pretty good. Hellen Keller is a person I'm very interested in and this play was nice for getting some more information on her earlier years of life and learning! Read this for english class. It was pretty good. Hellen Keller is a person I'm very interested in and this play was nice for getting some more information on her earlier years of life and learning!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Henry

    Wow, what a fantastic play. I immensely enjoyed it, and I think that may be because I read the book Helen Keller in 3rd grade. I remember how fascinating it was to read about this girl and how she learned to sign and speak when she couldn’t hear or see. This play didn’t give anything about her life after her childhood, but it doesn’t need to. It shows how Annie helps Helen to learn things to learn to see with words when she can’t for herself, and that is a very beautiful thing. I pray that I can Wow, what a fantastic play. I immensely enjoyed it, and I think that may be because I read the book Helen Keller in 3rd grade. I remember how fascinating it was to read about this girl and how she learned to sign and speak when she couldn’t hear or see. This play didn’t give anything about her life after her childhood, but it doesn’t need to. It shows how Annie helps Helen to learn things to learn to see with words when she can’t for herself, and that is a very beautiful thing. I pray that I can have Annie’s patience with people towards others in my everyday life. Aunt Ev character was not needed at all in my opinion because she really doesn’t contribute anything to the plot of this story or message the author is trying to convey. A lot of people probably see James as the antagonist but in my opinion Keller(Helens and his Dad) is the antagonist because he constantly is putting down James, and ultimately makes James the mischievous child he is because his dad doesn’t care for him. But all the characters represent the Average Man because they all have their flaws, and have good things about them. Some of their flaws are shown in the way they show love to their family members and how they treat Helen. All and All a good play, it had some sweet moments and pictures I’m just dying to see brought to life. I hope to see this play performed someday.

  22. 5 out of 5

    L.K. Simonds

    I was probably twelve or thirteen when I read Mr. Gibson's account of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan, but there are scenes I still remember as if I read them yesterday. One such scene is the showdown between Sullivan and Keller in the dining room of the Keller's big old Southern home. The teacher ran out the family who'd coddled Helen all her life, so she could try and make the child eat breakfast like a human being, rather than an animal. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, cold scramble I was probably twelve or thirteen when I read Mr. Gibson's account of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan, but there are scenes I still remember as if I read them yesterday. One such scene is the showdown between Sullivan and Keller in the dining room of the Keller's big old Southern home. The teacher ran out the family who'd coddled Helen all her life, so she could try and make the child eat breakfast like a human being, rather than an animal. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, cold scrambled eggs that had been knocked to the floor by Keller and scraped up by Sullivan. But wait, was it the book that was so vivid, or was it the film starring Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft? The film's screenplay was adapted by Gibson from his stage play, which was based on the book, so it doesn't matter. The book is wonderful, and so is the film. As with To Kill a Mockingbird, they are in harmony. Helen Keller's story is remarkable, and she was a portrait of courage, tenacity, and hope, as was Sullivan. I highly recommend this 62 year old classic.

  23. 5 out of 5

    TheBookWorm🐛 🐛

    This book was...interesting. I am not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but I don’t think I would sit down with it and read it in my own spare time. It’s one of those books that you can read once, then not have to read again. You can get the message from it, and you can remember it for the rest of your life without ever having to go back and read the book. Most older fictional books are like that, well they are to me. It was interesting to learn about the life of Helen Keller. How she was able to go fro This book was...interesting. I am not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but I don’t think I would sit down with it and read it in my own spare time. It’s one of those books that you can read once, then not have to read again. You can get the message from it, and you can remember it for the rest of your life without ever having to go back and read the book. Most older fictional books are like that, well they are to me. It was interesting to learn about the life of Helen Keller. How she was able to go from not being able to live in society, to being able to say actual words and live a good life. It is really inspiring, and it can help us know that there are still good people out there, and that there always will be.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Pros: no long monologues; a lead role with no speaking parts so that someone who has trouble memorizing lines can still be featured; extremely poignant; inspirational perspective on "seeing with words"; balance between male and female characters; would not require editing for content. Cons: complicated staging; annoyingly grandiloquent stage notes (seriously - who uses "proffer" and "deposit" instead of "give" and "place" in stage notes anyway); not sure if dogs allowed in theater. Iman and Alia, Pros: no long monologues; a lead role with no speaking parts so that someone who has trouble memorizing lines can still be featured; extremely poignant; inspirational perspective on "seeing with words"; balance between male and female characters; would not require editing for content. Cons: complicated staging; annoyingly grandiloquent stage notes (seriously - who uses "proffer" and "deposit" instead of "give" and "place" in stage notes anyway); not sure if dogs allowed in theater. Iman and Alia, there's a chance you're reading this. I have roles in mind for you.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mag

    The miracle worker was a good but bad book to me because I feel like it was about someone’s life and was not appealing to me. It was about this person that was deaf blind and could not talk. There were three people Kate Keller and a doctor. The infant was very sick and they thought the baby would die. Then one night they were in the house and the other was outside. Kate screams and Keller runs in the house to see that the baby could not see, or hear. Then a while later they were talking to Anni The miracle worker was a good but bad book to me because I feel like it was about someone’s life and was not appealing to me. It was about this person that was deaf blind and could not talk. There were three people Kate Keller and a doctor. The infant was very sick and they thought the baby would die. Then one night they were in the house and the other was outside. Kate screams and Keller runs in the house to see that the baby could not see, or hear. Then a while later they were talking to Annie and Annie coughed in her hand and she said that there was a tooth and said toothless. Annie sits rigid in silence. Then a boys voice pierced it with terror. First crones voice says “goodbye Annie.” Doctors voice says “write me when you learn how. Then the second crones voice says “don’t tell anyone you came from here don’t tell anyone.”

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jack Herbert Christal Gattanella

    I read this in middle school and I remember liking it, though in retrospect I wonder if I was emotionally intelligent/mature enough to be invested in it like I could be today. oh hey William Gibson!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Page

    A great play about Anne Sullivan's early days and break-through with Helen Keller. Three acts, liquid scene changes using a split stage and lighting effects. A lot of non-verbal acting is used, necessitating more stage direction than normal. I see why it's a classic. A great play about Anne Sullivan's early days and break-through with Helen Keller. Three acts, liquid scene changes using a split stage and lighting effects. A lot of non-verbal acting is used, necessitating more stage direction than normal. I see why it's a classic.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shailyn Stuckey

    Had to read this for school. Happy to say I enjoyed it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Orley

    I read this book for school and it was so good. As I continued to read I kept wanting to know more about Hellen Keller. Her story was so interesting and the accomplishments she had. Anne Sullivan was also an amazing character to read about and both their stories really inspire people.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Lil' Chip

    the beginning was a little slow, but I really enjoyed this one!

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