Before Annie Sullivan leaves her school to go to the Kellers’ home, her blind students give her a present: a pair of smoked (i.e., tinted) glasses. Annie uses these glasses to protect her eyes, which are still weak after her operation and sensitive to bright lights. Setting aside their practical value, however, the smoked glasses are an important symbol of Annie’s past. They remind the audience that Annie herself has struggled with blindness, and knows first-hand—to a limited extent—what Helen Keller is going through. In a way, the smoked glasses establish that Annie is a character with a foot in both worlds: she’s an educated woman who has learned how to “see,” both literally and metaphorically, and yet she can remember a time when she was blind and cut-off from the world just like Helen.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Smoked glasses appears in The Miracle Worker. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...blind children, who announce that they’ve bought Annie a going-away gift: a pair of smoked glasses (i.e., tinted glasses). One of the children explains that Annie’s eyes have hurt “since the... (full context)
...remarking that northerners “certainly rear a peculiar kind of young woman.” Arthur notices Annie’s smoked glasses, and Kate explains that Annie was blind, and has had nine eye operations. Arthur mutters,... (full context)
...shawl inside, and wraps it around her body, then puts on Annie’s bonnet and smoked glasses as well. Then, she finds Annie’s drawers (i.e., underwear), and a large doll. Helen seems... (full context)
...Kate enters the garden house and inquires what Annie is doing. Annie quickly puts her glasses on again and explains, “Whatever I spell to Helen I’d better spell right.” Annie shows... (full context)