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Disabilities. Many people don't realize how lucky they are. They feel like they are hard done by and complain about all sorts of things, when they don't realize the agonies that some people have to go through just to make it through the day. I will be comparing two different instances of disabilities. One from a book called The Miracle Worker, where a girl named Helen has had a disease that left her blind and deaf. And the other from the movie The piano, where the main character Sylvia, has been mute since she was 6 years old. I will talk about how the people around the one impaired were effected, how the person impaired was treated, and how they overcame their disability.

In the book The Miracle Worker, Helen's family had no idea how to deal with her. They had never been given any direction or advice. They were ignorant. They all felt so sorry for her that they never taught her every day manners or that people have personal boundaries. She was very spoiled. All she had to do was through a tantrum and she got just what she wanted. Everyone in the family would give her lollies or cake to quiet her down and stop her bad behavior. As a result of this she learned that she was rewarded for her bad behavior. She had all the family running around after her. For example, in Act one all Helen has to do is tap Viney (a household servant) on the cheek and Viney gives her cake. She has to or Helen will through a tantrum at not getting what she wants, and Viney knows that. The people in The Miracle worker were effected by the fact that they always had to be tiptoeing around Helen and making all these special allowances for her. Like letting her eat off of their plate, (a breach of personal boundaries) and not being able to get on with their lives because they all have to be running around after Helen. In the movie The Piano, Sylvia's family is ignorant too. They are embarrassed of her and think she is dumb and a freak. So do other people. Even her own father thinks she has no will of her own. He thinks he must make all her decisions for her, and he doesn't want to be embarrassed by her anymore so sells her in marriage to a man she has never met, to live in a land (New Zealand) she knows nothing about.

In the book The Miracle Worker, Helen is treated like "little queen muck." People would come running to do her bidding but she was alienated in the way that no one had ever tried to communicate with her, before Annie. They all thought she wasn't capable of conversation in any way. They underestimated her intelligence. I think she was very frustrated, that might be one of the reasons she was so violent. In the movie The Piano, Sylvia was treated very badly. She was sent away, and treated like a stupid freak with no will of her own. And because she couldn't speak like everyone else and she couldn't voice her opinion, she was treated like she didn't have one. Even her own daughter referred to her as "dumb." Sylvia wasn't dumb, she was fluent in sign and she carried a special little silver case with a pencil and paper in it around her neck to talk to the people around her. She came up with this herself. She showed her emotions in her music (she played the piano) and expressed herself in that way. She said, "most of what people say isn't worth listening too." She had her own opinions. People just treated her like she didn't because she couldn't speak.

Helen started to overcome her disabilities because of Annie. Annie taught her that things have names and how to ask for what you want instead



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