The Miracle Worker

by

William Gibson

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Captain Arthur Keller Character Analysis

Captain Arthur Keller is the gruff, middle-aged patriarch of the Keller family. He’s frequently confused about what’s going on, and seems much less sensitive to the needs of the rest of his family than Kate Keller, his wife. In many ways, Arthur Keller seems to be modeled off the archetypal father figure: stubborn, proud, and stoic. He’s stern but well-meaning, though he doesn’t take an active role in caring for his kids, and is highly skeptical of Annie Sullivan’s teaching methods. Additionally, Arthur is shown to be alienated from his son, James Keller: he expresses disappointment in his son and doesn’t understand why James has such a hard time obeying his orders. James and Arthur seem not to know how to talk to one another about their feelings. By the play’s end, however, Arthur seems to have overcome his prejudices against Annie the “Yankee,” as he allows her to employ her strict methods. He also shows new respect for James, suggesting that he’ll do a better job of communicating with his son from now on.

Captain Arthur Keller Quotes in The Miracle Worker

The The Miracle Worker quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Arthur Keller or refer to Captain Arthur Keller. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Communication Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of The Miracle Worker published in 2008.
Act 1 Quotes

KELLER: Katie. How many times can you let them break your heart?
KATE: Any number of times.

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Captain Arthur Keller (speaker), Helen Keller
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

KELLER: Here’s a houseful of grownups can't cope with the child, how can an inexperienced half-blind Yankee schoolgirl manage her?

Related Characters: Captain Arthur Keller (speaker), Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller
Related Symbols: Sight and blindness
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

JAMES [in pain] Don't—
KATE: Captain.
KELLER: He's afraid.
(He throws JAMES away from him, with contempt.)
What does he want out of me?
JAMES [AN OUTCRY]: My God, don't you know?
(He gazes from KELLER to KATE.)
Everything you forgot, when you forgot my mother.

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Captain Arthur Keller (speaker), James Keller (speaker)
Page Number: 75-76
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3 Quotes

JAMES: What does he want from me?
KATE: That's not the question. Stand up to the world, Jimmie, that comes first.
JAMES [A PAUSE, WRYLY]: But the world is him.
KATE: Yes. And no one can do it for you.
JAMES: Kate.
(His voice is humble.)
At least we—Could you—be my friend?
KATE: I am.

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), James Keller (speaker), Captain Arthur Keller
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

ANNIE: Yes, what's it to me? They're satisfied. Give them back their child and dog, both housebroken, everyone's satisfied. But me, and you.

Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

JAMES: She's right, Kate's right, I'm right, and you're wrong. If you drive her away from here it will be over my dead-chair, has it never occurred to you that on one occasion you might be consummately wrong?

Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Miracle Worker LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Miracle Worker PDF

Captain Arthur Keller Character Timeline in The Miracle Worker

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Arthur Keller appears in The Miracle Worker. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Family Theme Icon
...couple—a young woman named Kate Keller and a “hearty gentleman in his forties” named Captain Arthur Keller—are standing around a crib, talking to a doctor. The doctor says, “She’ll live.” (full context)
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Arthur Keller explains to the doctor that he has raised two children already, but that this... (full context)
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While Arthur Keller walks the doctor outside, Kate embraces her baby, murmuring that Arthur will post an... (full context)
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...stage is illuminated, revealing the rest of the Keller family sitting inside their home. Captain Arthur Keller sits at the table studying a newspaper while Aunt Ev sews a doll and... (full context)
Pity vs. Tough Love Theme Icon
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...for that child.” She gives Helen the doll she’s been making, and then suggests that Arthur Keller contact a famous oculist she has read about. Arthur refuses to contact this man,... (full context)
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Kate asks Arthur Keller for permission to write to the oculist, but Arthur refuses. He stands up and... (full context)
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Pity vs. Tough Love Theme Icon
...which Mildred is sleeping. Suddenly, she overturns the cradle and Mildred comes tumbling out, but Arthur Keller catches her. Kate shouts to Helen that she mustn’t do things like this, and... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Arthur Keller arrives downstairs, where he notices that James is dressed nicely. James explains that he’s... (full context)
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...dim, and when they rise, Annie, James, and Kate are coming back to the house. Arthur Keller greets Annie politely, just as Helen Keller rushes through the room and out to... (full context)
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As Annie meets Helen, Arthur and Kate talk about Annie. Kate likes her, but Arthur finds her “rough,” remarking that... (full context)
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Learning and Teaching Theme Icon
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The lights rise. Kate tells James to summon Arthur Keller for supper. James calls out to his father, and when Kate asks where Annie... (full context)
Communication Theme Icon
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Pity vs. Tough Love Theme Icon
Arthur, realizing that Kate will never find the key, takes the ladder and climbs up to... (full context)
Act 2
Learning and Teaching Theme Icon
Pity vs. Tough Love Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...Helen carefully, and Kate tries to eat her eggs while Helen pokes at the plate. Arthur and James argue about the Civil War, James taking the position that Grant was the... (full context)
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Pity vs. Tough Love Theme Icon
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Arthur and Kate explain to Annie that Helen is “accustomed to helping herself from our plates.”... (full context)
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Furiously, Arthur asks Kate to come outside and talk with him. James leaves also, leaving Annie and... (full context)
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...to her feet and begins putting things in her suitcase. Meanwhile, in the garden house, Arthur and Kate argue about Annie, Arthur claiming that Annie can’t be much of a teacher... (full context)
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Annie, having packed her suitcase, walks down to the garden house. There, Arthur informs Annie that he has been dissatisfied with her. However, he has tried to make... (full context)
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...spoiling affection and pity. Annie will never be able to teach Helen, so long as Arthur and Kate spoil her. Annie is willing to stay on, but only if Arthur and... (full context)
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Annie tells Kate and Arthur about her own childhood. She grew up in “the state almshouse,” along with her brother... (full context)
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...she and Helen live in the garden house, with Percy to help them at times. Arthur irritably consents to all of this, giving Annie two weeks. He then marches out of... (full context)
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As James walks out, Kate and Arthur appear, leading Helen to the garden house. Kate explains that they’ve been driving through the... (full context)
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...mockingly asks Kate, how Annie manages to get everything she wants out of Kate. Furious, Arthur twists James’s arm, demanding to know what James wants out of him. James cringes and... (full context)
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Alone, Kate tells Arthur she’s proud of him for letting Annie have control over Helen. Arthur wonders aloud why... (full context)
Communication Theme Icon
Learning and Teaching Theme Icon
Pity vs. Tough Love Theme Icon
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...James, asleep in the main house, turns as if he’d heard the song, followed by Arthur Keller and Kate Keller. (full context)
Act 3
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Meanwhile, in the house, Arthur is telling Kate that she needs to eat something. Kate complains that she’s restless and... (full context)
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Learning and Teaching Theme Icon
Pity vs. Tough Love Theme Icon
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Just then, Arthur Keller enters the garden house. He explains that he’s brought Helen a “playmate,” a dog... (full context)
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Just then, Arthur Keller enters the garden house and gives Annie her first months’ salary. He thanks Annie... (full context)
Communication Theme Icon
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...back that Helen is testing her family to see what she can get away with. Arthur tells Annie that she’s causing a nuisance by being so hard on Helen, and orders... (full context)
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...all over Annie’s dress. Annie stands up and carries Helen out of the room, ordering Arthur, who has stood up angrily, to remain seated. Aunt Ev is astounded that Arthur would... (full context)
Communication Theme Icon
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...porch, and the trellis. Annie calls for the Kellers to run outside. When Kate and Arthur rush outside, Annie guides Helen toward each one of her parents and then makes the... (full context)
Communication Theme Icon
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...are no echoing voices. Very slowly, Kate sits down to the table, joining James and Arthur. Aunt Ev gets up to open the door, and Annie, holding Helen in her arms,... (full context)