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Quotes for
James Keller (Character)
from The Miracle Worker (1962)

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The Miracle Worker (1962)
James Keller: Nothing I say is right.
Kate Keller: Why say anything?

James Keller: Maybe you ought to put her away, Father.
Kate Keller: What?
James Keller: Some asylum. It's the kindest thing.
Aunt Ev: Why, she's your sister, James!
James Keller: Half-sister. Half mentally defective. She can't even keep herself clean. It's not pleasant to see her about all the time.
Kate Keller: Do you dare complain about what you can see?

James Keller: Miss Sullivan? I'm James Keller.
Annie Sullivan: James? I had a brother Jimmy. Are you Helen's?
James Keller: I'm only half a brother. You'll be her governess?
Annie Sullivan: Well, I'll try.
James Keller: You look like half a governess.

James Keller: Finding out if she's ticklish? She is. What is it, a game?
Annie Sullivan: An alphabet.
James Keller: Alphabet?
Annie Sullivan: [finger-spelling to Helen] For the deaf.
Annie Sullivan: [after Helen finger-spells back to her] Oh, how bright she is!
James Keller: You think she knows what she's doing? She's a monkey. She imitates everything.
Annie Sullivan: Yes, she's a bright little monkey, all right!
James Keller: She wants her doll back.
Annie Sullivan: After she spells it.
James Keller: Spells? She doesn't know the thing has a name, even.
Annie Sullivan: Of course not. Who expects her to now? I just want her fingers to learn the letters.
James Keller: She doesn't seem to like that alphabet very much, Miss Sullivan. Did you invent it yourself?
Annie Sullivan: Spanish monks under a vow of silence, which I wish you'd take!

James Keller: How old was he, your brother Jimmy?
Annie Sullivan: Helen's age.
James Keller: How did he die?
Annie Sullivan: He had a tubercular hip. We made quite a pair, me blind and him with his crutch.
James Keller: When did he die?
Annie Sullivan: Eleven years ago this May.
James Keller: And you've had no one to dream about since?
Annie Sullivan: No, one's enough.
James Keller: You don't let go of things easily, do you? You'd be quite a handsome girl if it weren't for your eyes. No one's told you?
Annie Sullivan: Everyone. You'd be quite a gentleman if it weren't for your manners.
James Keller: You wouldn't say that if you didn't have your glasses on. How will you win her hand now, in this place?
Annie Sullivan: I don't know. I lost my temper, and here we are. I'm counting on her. That little head is dying to know.

James Keller: Sooner or later, we all give up, don't we?
Annie Sullivan: Maybe you all do, but it's my idea of the original sin.
James Keller: What is?
Annie Sullivan: Giving up!


The Miracle Worker (2000) (TV)
[Kate gave Annie a deadline; today Annie must return Helen to the big house and her family]
Kate Keller: How I have waited for this day.
Captain Keller: I only hope we won't be disappointed.
James Keller: *Helen* doesn't ever disappoint you, father.

[James Keller comes to escort Annie back to the big house]
James Keller: May I escort you?
Anne Sullivan: I'm not very good company right now.
James Keller: Well, I didn't come to keep you company. I came to keep you from getting lost in the dark.
Anne Sullivan: [stiffly] Maybe that is just what I was looking to do.
James Keller: [smiles understandingly] Are you feeling sorry for yourself, Miss Sullivan?
Anne Sullivan: Just this once. Yes.
[She smiles, and gestures with her head that she will walk with him]
James Keller: My father has a great respect for you. That's not easily earned. He fought at Vicksburg; he edits a newspaper.
Anne Sullivan: And he's always daring you to measure up.
James Keller: If you have any advice for me, I wouldn't mind hearing it.
Anne Sullivan: I never really had a father, so I'm the last person to ask. But you've got to stand up to the world. That's all I know.
Anne Sullivan: Well, what if he's the world?
Anne Sullivan: Then you can just look around, James, and see how much bigger it really is. He's a man, James, that's all. So are you.

[It is Helen's 'Welcome Home' dinner, and she is misbehaving]
Kate Keller: What do you want me to do?
Anne Sullivan: Let me take her from the table.
Aunt Ev: But this is her first evening back.
Kate Keller: I have made all of Helen's favorite foods.
Anne Sullivan: She's testing you.
James Keller: She's testing *you*.
Anne Sullivan: I know!
Captain Keller: Well, she's not kicking now.
Anne Sullivan: This is what I was worried about. Is this what you promised me, less than an hour ago?
[Helen nestles against her mother, who holds her protectively]
Anne Sullivan: Give into her, then. She's the one who will pay for it.
[She sits again]
Anne Sullivan: Please, pass me more of Helen's favorite foods.

[Annie has pulled Helen out of the dining room]
Aunt Ev: You let her speak to you like that, Arthur?
Captain Keller: [His pride is challenged] No. I don't!
[He rises from his chair and strides to the door]
James Keller: Let her go!
Captain Keller: What?
James Keller: Let her go. She's right. She's right, and Kate's right. If we drive Miss Sullivan away from here, then we're lost. No: Helen is lost.
Kate Keller: Captain, please.
[the Captain returns to his seat at the table. He is putting on a show for Aunt Ev, but he looks secretly relieved not to have to confront Annie Sullivan]
Captain Keller: Jimmy?
[Jimmy looks at him resentfully]
Captain Keller: Thank you.
[Jimmy stares, then smiles. Clearly, this is the first kind word from his father in ages]