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The Miracle Worker: A Play Paperback – June 17, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"Radiant, emotion-charged, memorable, superb!" -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Author

William Gibson has written plays, poetry, fiction, and an autobiographical family chronicle called A Mass for the Dead. The Miracle Worker, his most popular play, and Two for the Seesaw were both produced on Broadway and made into motion pictures. In 1982 he wrote a sequel to The Miracle Worker called Monday after the Miracle, which was based on the life of Helen Keller as a college student with Annie Sullivan as her tutor and translator. William Gibson now lives in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he co-founded the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (June 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416590846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416590842
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on October 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
"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.
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful By 6502Lane on May 31, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you're looking for cyberpunk reading material, be warned: this is NOT the same William Gibson of Neuromancer fame, though a brief perusal of the Amazon description should have told you this.

William Gibson, the cyberpunk novelist, was born in 1948; this play by William Gibson, the playwright (b. 1914), was first produced in 1959. To the idiots leaving 1-star / negative reviews of this item without having read the description, you got what you deserved. A quick perusal of Gibson's own website gives you a concise list of the books he's written.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
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?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 6, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker" is as poignant and powerful today as it was back in 1957, when it was first performed on "Playhouse 90." Annie Sullivan is an "inexperienced half-blind Yankee schoolgirl" who attempts to reach seven-year-old Helen Keller, a child who became deaf and blind as a result of a childhood illness. Helen's father, Captain Keller, is a southern gentleman who is used to being obeyed. However, even he stands helplessly by in the face of Helen's violent and disruptive outbursts. Mrs. Keller, Helen's mother, is a sweet and loving person who pities Helen, and by giving in to her every whim, she helps turn her daughter into a demanding tyrant.

Annie Sullivan is only twenty when she comes to Alabama to become Helen's teacher. Annie had been blind herself, and although numerous operations on her eyes have restored some of her sight, her eyes remain weak and sensitive to light. Annie is appalled when she meets her volatile and undisciplined charge. The teacher sets out to civilize Helen by instructing her to eat from her own plate with utensils rather than grab food from everyone else's plate with her hands. This leads to an angry confrontation between teacher and student, which leaves both of them emotionally and physically drained. William Gibson's five page long stage directions describe in great detail this pitched battle between these two stubborn individuals. After this harrowing encounter, Annie realizes that only by separating Helen from her indulgent family can she ever hope to tame this brilliant but willful youngster.

"The Miracle Worker" is a beautifully constructed and concise play.
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