The Miracle Worker William Gibson
The Miracle Worker: Post-Reading • How do you teach someone who is deaf? • How do you teach someone who is blind? • How do you teach someone who is both blind and deaf?
The Miracle Worker:About Helen Keller • Helen was both blind and deaf at 18 months of age. • She had forgotten at this point some of the words she had learned. She was described as an “uncontrollable savage” by some. • Alexander Graham Bell encouraged her family to accept a teacher from the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston (Annie Sullivian 19). • Annie had been an orphan after her parents died and also suffered from very poor vision (legally blind) and she talked her way into Perkins Institution for the blind. • Annie sight was restored through extensive surgery. • Annie taught Helen by writing letters onto her hand spelling out words. • Helen Keller through the expansion of this method no longer dealt with isolation and she learned to speak, attend Radcliff college and graduatte with honors. • Helen later lectured to many and wrote several books.
The Miracle Worker: William Gibson on the Rise • Mother ran a music school and father a popular pianist. • At one point supported himself as a jazz pianist in his teens and twenties. • At the city college of NY he took up writing. • Gibson’s English professor encouraged him to writer. After 2 years of school he dropped out to launch his writing career. • Gibson moved to Topeka, Kansas and married a psychoanalyst. • Gibson wrote a play, but did not receive recognition until he began writing poetry. • Gibson won the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize in 1945. • The novel The Cobweb became a best-seller.
The Miracle Worker: William Gibson achieves fame • Gibson achieved national recognition for musical in the late 50’s as a playwright. • The Miracle Worker which was the sequel to Monday After the Miracle won him the Pulitzer Prize.
The Miracle Worker: Gibson’s topics in writing • Writing deals with isolation and loneliness. • Loneliness in The Miracle Worker is dealt with as Annie Sullivan (the person who works with Helen) is able to break through her barriers of blindness and deafness. • Although the ideas of isolation and loneliness are negative Gibson approaches them optimistically (from a bright side). • Gibson usually brings to the front a new insight into a topic for a reader.
The Miracle Worker: Gibson’s writing • Gibson is known for developing strong characters in his dramas. • Gibson is noted for innovative staging in plays. • He used two apartments as the stage for one of his plays, both remaining on the stage throughout the play, and the connection being a telephone. - The Miracle Worker utilizes a variety of settings: Annie’s bedroom, the Keller dining room, and the yard. - In addition to these plays he also wrote a series of chronicles (articles) about his plays and the difficulty of the production on Broadway.
The Miracle Worker: Gibson’s characters • When Gibson finished The Miracle Worker he had the play typed in brail and sent to the real Helen Keller. • Helen did approve of the play, and actually provided four pages of notes to help Gibson eliminate technical errors.
The Miracle Worker: Dramatic Background • The drama, The Miracle Worker, is based on the real-life story of a teacher, Annie Sullivan, and her pupil, Helen Keller. • In reality, Annie and Helen met when Helen was seventeen years old. However, for Gibson’s drama, he altered Helen’s age so that she was between the ages of six and seven when the two met. • Helen is not only deaf and blind, but she is mute, which is usually found in those people who have never heard spoken language.
The Miracle Worker: Protagonist /Antagonist • Antagonist: a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary. • Protagonist: the leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work.
The Miracle Worker: Protagonist /Antagonist • The antagonist and protagonist want the same thing. • Both characters may be after the same love interest, fighting over the same landmass, or traveling far and wide for the same collectible Star Wars figurine. • They could also both want the same thing in that they both want to “destroy” the other. • Whatever the shared desire is, when two people want the same thing, conflict will inevitably ensue.
The Miracle Worker: Antagonist/Protagonist • The antagonist wants nothing more than to see the protagonist fail at getting what he or she wants. • Many times, this type of conflict depicts an eager “go-getter” pursuing a dream, and an antagonist that, for one reason or another, wants to see him or her fail. • The antagonist’s motive may be a number of things—jealousy, revenge, racial intolerance, etc. No matter the motive, the antagonist will do anything in to stand between the protagonist and that dream.
The Miracle Worker: Antagonist/Protagonist • The antagonist and protagonist have opposing desires. • For example, • Your protagonist wants world peace and your antagonist wants to initiate World War III. • Your protagonist wants to go to the Star Trek convention and your antagonist hates Star Trek so much that he or she devises a global plan to hijack all busses, trains, and airplanes headed to the convention. • Usually, the two characters know nothing of each other before they are forced to fight it out in a battle of good versus evil.
The Miracle Worker: Terms to know… • Drama: a literary art form that recreates human life and emotions. The medium is dialogues and action with in a frame of sequential events. Drama has both a written form (a script) and a living form (the stage presentation). • Theme: an observation of life which serves as the controlling idea in a literary work. A theme is seldom presented word-for-word but is more often found as an abstract idea, surfacing through the actions and dialogues of characters, the use of symbols and recurring images, or the manipulation of literary devices.
Theme: • Universal feeling or idea or Central Idea of the story • What to ask yourself to identify theme: • What is the central idea of the story? • What is the authors statement about it? • What is the theme of : • The Tortoise & the Hare: • Green Eggs & Ham:
Symbolism • Symbolism: A symbol is anything that hints at something else, usually something abstract, such as an idea or belief. A literary symbol is an object, a person, a situation, or an action that has a literal meaning in a story but suggests or represents other meanings.
General Symbol • A general symbol is universal in its meaning. Even if the symbol were removed from a work of literature, it would still suggest a larger meaning. • Ex: While the sea symbolizes the universal voyage from life to death in The Odyssey, it retains this association independent from literature. The "sea" is a general symbol. • Ex: In poetry, a "rose" often is not only a flower, but also a general symbol for romantic love.
General Symbol? • Define: • Ex:
Specific Symbol: • A specific symbol is not universal in its meaning. It acquires a specific meaning based on how it relates to the content of a novel, poem, etc. The symbol's significance exists only within the context created by the author. • Ex: A hunting cap in The Catcher in the Rye has no universal meaning, but within the novel it is worn backwards and symbolizes a looking back at childhood. • Ex: A pair of eyes on a billboard in the Great Gatsby has no universal meaning, but within the story symbolizes the eyes of God watching humanity. • Tips about Symbols: • • The story itself must furnish a clue that a detail is to be taken symbolically. Symbols nearly always signal their existence by emphasis, repetition, or position. • The meaning of a literary symbol must be established and supported by the entire context of
Tips about Symbols: • To be called a symbol, an item must suggest a meaning different in kind from its literal meaning; a symbol is something more than its class or type. • A symbol may have more than one meaning. This does not mean that the symbol can mean anything you want it to because possible meanings are always controlled by the context.
Determining what symbolic objects are… • To identify a symbol, note if an object seems to: • appear repeatedly • have an unusually vivid quality • be described with language conveying much emphasis • have more significance than its literal reality would suggest
Determining symbolic meaning • Carefully examine how the symbol functions in relation to the story. Ask yourself what idea is represented by the symbol.
Classify the symbols: • Classification may reveal opposite relationships, such as symbols of good and evil, life and death, or eternal and ephemeral. Or symbols may fall into isolated categories, such as destruction, innocence, or sexuality. • Determine how much depth a particular symbol has and classify its possible meanings. While your paper may focus on only one major symbol, you may be able to divide it into two specific meanings and two general meanings.
Symbolism & “The Miracle Worker” • Smoked Glasses • Suitcase • Doll
Plot • Plot: the progression of events in a literary work. Each part of the plot is essential that if one part were removed, the whole structure would be disturbed.
Plot • The most important element in plot is conflict. • External or internal conflict • A story often ends when conflict is resolved but this is not always the case…
Plot Structure Plot is the literary element that describes the structure of a story. It shows the a causal arrangement of events and actions within a story.
Chronological order Flashback In media res (in the middle of things) when the story starts in the middle of the action without exposition Types of Linear Plots Plots can be told in
Pyramid Plot Structure The most basic and traditional form of plot is pyramid-shaped. This structure has been described in more detail by Aristotle and by Gustav Freytag.
Aristotle’s Unified Plot The basic triangle-shaped plot structure was described by Aristotle in 350 BCE. Aristotle used the beginning, middle, and end structure to describe a story that moved along a linear path, following a chain of cause and effect as it works toward the solution of a conflict or crisis.
Freytag’s Plot Structure Freytag modified Aristotle’s system by adding a rising action (or complication) and a falling action to the structure. Freytag used the five-part design shown above to describe a story’s plot.
Modified Plot Structure Freytag’s Pyramid is often modified so that it extends slightly before and after the primary rising and falling action. You might think of this part of the chart as similar to the warm-up and cool-down for the story.
Plot Components Climax: the turning point, the most intense moment—either mentally or in action Rising Action: the series of conflicts and crisis in the story that lead to the climax Falling Action: all of the action which follows the climax Exposition: the start of the story, the situation before the action starts Resolution: the conclusion, the tying together of all of the threads
Conflict • Results from the struggle of two opposing forces. One of the forces is usually a person. That person usually confronts one or more of five basic kinds of opposition. • Opposition includes other people, forces of nature, society, fate, and internal elements battling for control.
Conflict Conflict is the dramatic struggle between two forces in a story. Without conflict, there is no plot.
Interpersonal Conflict Human vs Human Human vs Nature Human vs Society Internal Conflict Human vs Self Types of Conflict
Characterization • The creation of believable fictitious personalities. The basic methods of characterization include these: • An explicit statement by the author • The character’s appearance • The aspects of setting which reflect influence of the character • The character’s actions, including mannerisms • Reactions of and to the character • The character’s thoughts • What the character says • What others say about the character
Defining Characterization • To describe the qualities or peculiarities of: (A notable or distinctive feature or characteristic)
The Miracle Worker: Act I Writing Response • Helen Keller was an astonishing person who succeeded in life despite her disabilities. However, it wasn’t always easy for her to learn. The person who had the most extraordinary impact on Helen’s education was her teacher, Annie Sullivan. • Write a multi-paragraph essay analyzing the character of Annie Sullivan and the impact she had on Helen’s life. Make sure to use details and examples to support your analysis.