The Miracle Worker
Act I Study Guide Questions
Answer the following questions using complete sentences.
1. Give a description for each of the following characters and describe how they react to
a. Kate Keller – Helen’s mother; described as a young, gentlewoman; later described as careworn. She still believes there is hope to reach Helen. She is patient and the family peacekeeper.
b. Captain Arthur Keller – Helen’s father; described as a hearty gentleman in his mid-forties. He is a newspaper editor. He is impatient and imperious. He does not believe there is hope for Helen; he no longer believes in miracles.
c. Annie Sullivan – Helen’s teacher; she is a twenty years old girl from the North (a Yankee.) She came from The Perkins Institute. She was formerly blind. She expects Helen to act like a normal child.
d. James Keller – Helen’s half brother. He is probably in his late teens. He is indolent and sarcastic. He does not believe there is any hope for Helen; he thinks she is half mentally defective.
2. What causes Helen’s blindness and deafness?
She had a high fever which lead to her blindness and deafness; the doctor said she had acute congestion of the stomach and brain.
3. How does Mrs. Keller realize what has happened to Helen?
She notices that Helen’s eyes do not move when she passes her hand over them and there is no response when Kate yells in her ears
4. Describe Helen, both her positive and negative qualities.
Positive: energetic, inquisitive, curious
Negative: tantrums, easily frustrated
5. What causes Helen to become so frustrated in the scene with Percy and Martha? What
does Helen want to be able to do? (8-9)
She wants to speak and communicate but cannot. Percy bites her fingers as she tries to mimic his motions and feel his lips moving.
6. In dealing with Helen as she grows up, whose approach do you think is better, Kate’s
or Captain Keller’s? Why do you feel this way?
Kate believes she should not be punished. Captain Keller believes there needs to be discipline.
7. How does the playwright show Helen’s intelligence and her difficulty in
communicating at the same time? (11-13)
She wants the doll to have eyes, but cannot express her feelings so she rips the
buttons off of Aunt Ev’s dress.
8. Why is Annie glad that Helen is given to...