Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Gibson's The Miracle Worker. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Miracle Worker: Introduction
The Miracle Worker: Plot Summary
The Miracle Worker: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Miracle Worker: Themes
The Miracle Worker: Quotes
The Miracle Worker: Characters
The Miracle Worker: Symbols
The Miracle Worker: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of William Gibson
Historical Context of The Miracle Worker
Other Books Related to The Miracle Worker
- Full Title: The Miracle Worker
- When Written: 1957-1959
- Where Written: New York City and Topeka, Kansas
- When Published: Originally written in 1957 as a teleplay for Playhouse 90, later rewritten as a three-act Broadway play, premiered October 19, 1959
- Literary Period: Modern theater
- Genre: Historical drama
- Setting: Tuscumbia, Alabama, 1880s
- Climax: Annie teaches Helen how to communicate via sign language
- Antagonist: Pity, prejudice, and pessimism could be considered the abstract antagonists of the play
Extra Credit for The Miracle Worker
Power couple. William Gibson’s wife, the psychotherapist Margaret Brenman-Gibson, was probably even more famous in her discipline than Gibson was in his. A pioneering Freudian psychoanalyst, she was one of the first women to be made a full professor at Harvard University. Until the late 1950s, she supported her husband with her income from teaching and practicing psychoanalysis.
Next stop, Hollywood. Gibson’s plays have been adapted into some acclaimed films. The Miracle Worker was made into a film in 1962, and it won two Oscars for its two female leads, Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke. Bancroft went on to become one of Hollywood’s leading stars after this film (playing Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, for example). Arthur Penn, the film’s director, went on to direct the New Hollywood classic Bonnie and Clyde. Gibson’s first Broadway play, Two for the Seesaw, was also made into a successful film in 1962, starring Robert Mitchum and Shirley MacLaine. The Miracle Worker has also been adapted for TV twice, most recently in 2000.