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Grant vs. Capt. Keller

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  • carlw4514@yahoo.com
    I can t hear the pros and cons of U. S. Grant without hearing in my mind the scene from the movie THE MIRACLE WORKER (1962,) so I had to go and rent the movie
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2001
      I can't hear the pros and cons of U. S. Grant without hearing in my
      mind the scene from the movie THE MIRACLE WORKER (1962,) so I had to
      go and rent the movie again and thought I would share a transcription:

      Captain Keller, who is quite the unreconstructed Rebel, shall we say,
      is having a dinner table conversation with his son James. Cap. Keller
      is also pretty much the tyrannical head of household who brooks no

      [evidently James tried to say something favorable about Grant]...
      JAMES KELLER: " No, but shouldn't we give the Devil his due, Father?
      The fact is we lost the South two years earlier when he out-thought us
      behind Vicksburg."

      CAP. KELLER: " Out-thought is a peculiar word for a butcher."

      JK: " Harness maker, wasn't he?"

      CAP. K.: " I said butcher! His only strength as a soldier was in
      numbers; led them to slaughter with no more regard than so many

      JK: "But even if in that sense he was a butcher..."

      CAP. K.: [cuts him off] " And a drunk, half the war."

      JK: " Agreed, Father, if his own people said he was, I can't argue..."

      CAP. K.: [cuts him off] " So what is it you find to admire in such a
      man, Jimmy? The drunkenness or the butchery?"

      JK: " Neither, Father, only the fact that he beat us."

      CAP. K.: " HE didn't!"

      JK: " Is it your contention we won the war, sir?"

      CAP. K.: " He didn't beat us at Vicksburg, we lost Vicksburg by
      stupidity verging on treason!"

      JK: " Well, I would have said that we lost Vicksburg because Grant was
      one thing no Yankee general was before..."

      CAP. K.: [cuts him off, and is getting into his stride] : "Drunk!? I
      doubt it!"

      JK: " Obstinate."

      CAP. K.: " Obstinate? Wouldn't even any of them compare even in that;
      with old Stonewall? If he had a been there, we'd still have

      JK: " Well, the butcher simply wouldn't give up; He tried four ways to
      getting around Vicksburg..."

      CAP. K.: [ cuts him off and really becomes vociferous] "He wouldn't
      have gotten around had a Southerner been in command instead of a
      half-breed Yankee traitor like Pemberton! [at this point the young
      Helen Keller and her new teacher cause a disruption] ...
      (unfortunately! I would have loved it if they had gone on.)

      The sub-theme of the scene is that Helen's new teacher is as obstinate
      as Grant was, in fact is a "Yankee;" James (alone) recognizes this
      and encourages her at the end of the scene saying to go ahead and do
      what it takes "... if it takes all summer!"

      I am not sure why I like this scene so much... I guess it is partly
      because I can picture some of my relatives having just such a
      conversation during my childhood. Captain Keller is not supposed to be
      a sympathetic character, but even though he is making an ass out of
      himself, I also enjoy that he is getting his licks in!
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