Chris McClendon 12/11/09 3rd Hour The Qualities of Hero What makes Annie Sullivan significant? The traits that she showed in The Miracle Worker by William Gibson made her significant. In this story she showed many characteristics that make her unique in comparison to other teachers. Being half blind herself, she could relate to Helen in some ways. Annie Sullivan exemplified many heroic qualities such as patience, perseverance, and self-determination. First, Annie Sullivan showed patience in many different situations throughout the story.
Patience appeared in this play when Annie requested to stay with Helen, alone in the cabin for two weeks. She stated, “Two weeks, for only one miracle. ” (Act II). Helen tested Annie’s patience when choosing not to cooperate with her. They got into many altercations, but still remained patient. Helen benefited the most from Annie’s perseverance. Sullivan’s patience helped her to teach Helen. When Helen tested Annie’s patience, she remained calm and continued to tolerate Helen’s behavior. This example shows how Annie exemplified patience in “The Miracle Worker”.
Another characteristic that Annie showed in this story included perseverance. Annie persevered during the scene where she tried to teach Helen how to fold the napkin. When she started, Helen did not seem to respond to sign language or folding the napkin. After a few days, she appeared hopeless to her parents. Sullivan still continued to try and teach her through all the obstacles, even when the Kellers wanted her to leave. “The room’s a wreck, but her napkin is folded. ” (Act II). Annie stated this after she successfully taught Helen how to fold a napkin.
Even though the Kellers didn’t believe in Annie, and Helen seemed to not respond to her teaching, Annie still continued to try and teach her. Clearly, Annie Sullivan showed perseverance in this story. Lastly, Sullivan showed the quality of self-determination. Annie showed self-sufficiency throughout the whole play. A specific example would be when the Kellers thought that Annie would give up, but she didn’t. “Here, give up, why I only today saw what has to be done, to begin! ” (Act II). Annie said this to the Kellers when they thought that she might have given up.
Sullivan was determined to teach Helen sign language. She remained persistent and did not give up. At this point Annie would do whatever she had to do to teach Helen sign language. She wanted to stay alone in the cabin with Helen even though the Kellers opposed. This self-determination helped Helen to learn and to pay more attention to Annie. This is how Annie Sullivan showed self-determination. In conclusion, Annie Sullivan illuminated many qualities that would make one see her as heroic. Three specific examples of these traits are patience, perseverance, and self-determination.
Sullivan shows these characteristics throughout the entire play. The world would be a better place if there more people showed the traits that Annie Sullivan did. I agree with Robert Brustein when he states, “Gibson possesses substantial literary and dramatic gifts and an integrity of the highest order. In addition, he brings to his works authentic compassion, wit, bite and humor, and a lively, literate prose style equaled by few American dramatists. ” in the New Republic. When William Gibson wrote this play he used much compassion and drama. Lastly, I am grateful for being able to read this transcendental play.