HELEN KELLER STORY OF MY LIFE SUMARY CHAPTER WISE

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HELEN KELLER STORY OF MY LIFE SUMARY CHAPTER WISE

  1. 1. SLIDE NO. CHAPTER NO. 8,9 1 10,11 2 12,13 3 14 4 15,16 5 17 6 18,19 7 20,21 8 22,23 9
  2. 2. SLIDE NO. CHAPTER NO. 24,25 10 27 11 28,29 12 30,32 13 33,34,35,36 14 - - - - - - - -
  3. 3. Helen’s apprehension before writing her autobiography Birth of Helen Helen suffers an illness that leaves her deaf and blind Helen’s initial attempts to communicate Observing herself as different from others Companionship with Martha Washington and Belle Helen is saved by the nurse from getting burnt The need for a better means of communication The train journey to Baltimore
  4. 4. Exploring the possibilities of Helen’s education at Baltimore Beginning of the journey of knowledge with Miss Ann Sullivan Learning lessons in the lap of nature Helen learns that nature is not always kind With the acquisition of words, Helen turns more inquisitive The first conception of an abstract idea The tedious process of learning for a deaf and blind child like Helen Learning to read Learning in the form of stories that were based on the gifts received by Helen
  5. 5. Christmas Eve Helen’s new pet: Tim: The journey to Boston in May, 1888 Helen recalls the tragic end of Nancy, her doll Helen’s first history lesson at Bunker Hill Helen’s maiden ocean voyage: trip to ‘Plymouth’: The vacation at Brewster with Mrs. Hopkins Helen’s first encounter with the sea Spending a leisurely autumn at the Fern Quarry
  6. 6. Chilly winter at a New England Village The favorite amusement during winters: tobogganing Speaking lessons from Miss Sarah Fuller The final moment of joy: Helen’s speech Helen’s first attempt to write a composition on her own “The Frost King” appreciated by family and friends Helen’s happiness gets crushed in Boston Helen at the court of investigation Effects of “The Frost King” incident in the later life of Helen
  7. 7. Helen felt a kind of hesitation before she set on the task of penning down her autobiography and, thus, reveal the story of her life. In addition, the task itself was a difficult one for Helen: looking back, she could hardly distinguish between the facts and the fancies across the years. Furthermore, in the process of learning new things, she had forgotten many important incidents and experiences of her childhood. Helen Adams Keller was born on a plantation called Ivy Green in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880. She was the eldest daughter of Captain Arthur H. Keller, a former officer of the Confederate Army, and Kate Adams. Helen was named after her grandmother, Helen Everett. Even as an infant, she showed signs of eagerness and independence. By the age of six months, Helen attracted everyone’s attention piping out words like “How dye” and “tea”. In February, 1882, at the age of nineteen months, Helen fell ill with “an acute congestion of the stomach and brain”, which could possibly have been scarlet fever or meningitis. This illness left her deaf and blind. Later on, her spirit was liberated from the “world of silence and darkness” by her
  8. 8. About that time, Helen found out the use of a key. The mischievous Helen played a prank on her mother by locking her in the pantry. After Miss Sullivan arrived to teach her, she played the same prank on her. Helen locked her teacher in her room and refused to reveal the hidden key. Eventually, her father had to intervene and take Miss Sullivan out of the room through the window. When Helen was around five years old, the Keller family moved from the ‘little vine- covered house’ to a large new one. Helen’s father was loving and indulgent. Helen was fond of the stories her father narrated to her by forming spellings on her hand. Her father in turn enjoyed Helen’s reiteration of these stories. Her father’s death in the summer of 1896 was Helen’s “ first great sorrow– [her] first personal experience with death.” Initially, Helen viewed her younger sister, Mildred, as an intruder. She felt that her sister got all the attention from her mother. Helen vented her frustration and showed her affection on her doll, Nancy. Once Helen overturned Nancy’s cradle in which her sister was sleeping. Fortunately, their mother’s timely arrival saved Mildred. Later, however , the love between the hearts of the two sisters prospered despite the fact that neithe r of them understood the language of the other.
  9. 9. • After her sickness, Helen started using “crude signs” to communicate with others. A shake of the head meant “No” and a nod “Yes”, a pull meant “Come” and a push, “Go”. If she wanted anything, she would imitate the relevant action. Her mother encouraged her by involving her in the household activities. This made Helen more observant of the actions performed by the people around her. Helen started to observe that unlike her, other people did not use signs for communication but talked with their mouths. She realized that she was different from others. She attempted to copy them but in vain. At times, she released her frustration on her nurse, Elisa, by kicking and screaming at her until she felt exhausted. She regretted her misbehavior but did not try to change it. Martha Washington was a little colored girl who understood Helen’s signs. She was the cook’s daughter. Martha submissively obeyed Helen, who in turn enjoyed domineering over her. Both the girls spent a lot of time in the kitchen, kneading dough balls, grinding coffee, quarrelling over the cake bowl. Helen enjoyed feeding the hens and turkeys, and feeling them as they ate from her hands. She also loved to hunt for guinea-fowl eggs in the long grass. Even though Helen could not understand Christmas per se, she enjoyed the preparations leading to that occasion. One July afternoon, when Helen and Martha were bored of cutting paper dolls, they came up with the idea of cutting each other’s hair. Helen cut Martha’s hair and Martha cut off a curl of Helen’s. Martha would have cut them all if it weren’t for Helen’s mother’s timely intervention. Belle was a lazy old dog and a companion of Helen. Despite of her attempts, it was inattentive to her signs and gestures. As a result, Helen would get frustrated and go looking for Martha. Once, while drying her wet apron in front of the hearth, Helen ended up going too close to the fire. Her clothes caught fire. Fortunately, she was saved by the nurse, Viny, who threw a blanket around her to extinguish the fire. Except for her hands and hair, she was not badly burnt.
  10. 10. Gradually, the few signs that were used by Helen to communicate became inadequate. Failure to get across her thoughts led to fits of anger and frustration in Helen. She felt miserable. As a result, it became imperative for her parents to find a teacher or a school for Helen so that she could learn a better means of communication. Helen’s mother’s hope was aroused by an account she read in Dickens’s “American Notes” about the education of Laura Bridgeman, a deaf and blind student, by Dr. Howe. Unfortunately, his methods had possibly died with him. Besides, it would not be easy to find a teacher who would come to their distant town in Alabama to teach Helen. Helen was six when her father decided to consult an oculist in Baltimore for the treatment of Helen’s sight. Helen enjoyed the new experiences during her trip. She was happy to receive a box of shells from a lady and a doll made out of towels from her aunt during the journey. She also played with the “punching machine” of the conductor. In fact, she did not experience any fits of temper during her journey as there were so many things to keep her mind and hands busy. At Baltimore, Dr. Chisholm said that there was nothing he could do about Helen’s sight. However, he advised Helen’s father to consult Dr. Alexander Graham Bell of Washington, who would be able to guide them in regards to the education of Helen. Meeting Dr. Bell was a great experience for Helen. He understood Helen’s signs, which made her happy. This meeting was the beginning of a long friendship between Dr. Bell and Helen. Helen later recalled this interview as the foundation of her journey from darkness to light, “from isolation to friendship, companionship, knowledge and love.”Dr. Bell advised Mr. Keller to write to Dr. Anagnos, the director of the Perkins Institute in Boston. Her father wrote to him without any delay and got a reply in positive. Finally, in the March of 1887, Miss Sullivan arrived at the Keller house.
  11. 11. Miss Anne Mansfield Sullivan arrived at the house of the Keller family on the third of March, 1887. This was the day from which Helen’s life started to transform; the ailing spirit of Helen could only find solace by the knowledge delivered by Miss Sullivan. Miss Sullivan gave Helen a doll, which was a present from the little blind students of the Perkins Institute and was dressed by Laura Bridgeman. Miss Sullivan spelled the word ‘D-O-L-L’ on Helen’s hands. Helen managed to imitate the movements of her fingers even though she was not aware of the fact that Miss Sullivan was trying to teach her the name of the thing. It took several weeks for Helen to realize that everything has a name. Miss Sullivan tried to teach the names of several other objects to Helen, such as “M-U-G” and “W-A-T-E-R”, but Helen was annoyed at the repeated attempts of her teacher and she broke her doll on the floor. One day, when they were walking in the garden, Miss Sullivan put Helen’s hand under a spout of water. As the cool stream gushed over Helen’s hand, Miss Sullivan spelled the word “water” on the other. Then Helen realized that ‘water’ meant that “cool something that was flowing over [her] hand”. She experienced the joy of gaining knowledge. When she returned to the house, she was eager to learn since “every name gave birth to a new thought". That day Helen learnt several new words, including “father”, “mother” and “teacher”. This eventful day left her very happy and excited. She waited eagerly for the upcoming new day.
  12. 12. Helen could experience new joy as she learned the names of the objects and their uses. This made her more confident and familiar with the outside world.Helen had many new experiences during her summer trip to the banks of the Tennessee River with Miss Sullivan. There, sitting on the warm grass, Helen learned lessons from her teacher. She got to know how birds make their nests; how trees grow with the help of the sun and the rain; how animals find food for themselves, etc. She became more sensitive to nature and rejoiced the company of the world about which she was now more informed.One day Miss Sullivan helped Helen to climb up a tree. It was a pleasant sunny afternoon and they decided to have their luncheon there. Miss Sullivan left to fetch the food, with Helen sitting on a tree alone. Suddenly the weather became dark and stormy. Helen was terrified and felt alienated from the world. Helen longed for the return of her teacher and above all to get down from the tree. Too scared to jump, she “crouched down in the fork of the tree”. Just as she thought she would fall along with the tree, her teacher rescued her. Helen felt relieved to reach the ground safely. This experience taught her that nature is not always kind, that nature “wages open war against her children…”Helen continued to be terrified of climbing a tree for a long time. One day, however, she was lured to climb a ‘Mimosa tree’ by its beautiful fragrance. She did experience some difficulty in holding on to the large branches but the pleasure of attempting something new and wonderful kept her going. Finally, she sat down on a “little seat” and felt like a “fairy sitting on a rose cloud”.
  13. 13. Gradually, Helen’s knowledge grew in terms of vocabulary and subsequently, her area of inquiry broadened. She returned to the same subject repeatedly, eager for more and more information. One day Helen brought a bunch of violets for her teacher. Miss Sullivan put her arm around Helen to show her affection and spelled into her hand, “I love Helen”. But Helen failed to understand the meaning as she tried associating it with a thing and not with an emotion or an abstract idea. She was disappointed by the fact that her teacher could not “show” her what love meant. A couple of days later, when Helen was stringing beads of different sizes, her teacher kept on pointing out mistakes to her. Helen was trying to think about the correct arrangement when Miss Sullivan touched her forehead and spelled the word “think” on her hand. Helen suddenly realized that the word is the name of the process going on in her mind. This was Helen’s first conscious awareness of an abstract idea. Finally, her teacher explained to her that, “you cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that love pours into everything.”Miss Sullivan encouraged Helen to talk to her. She supplied her with several words and idioms by spelling them on her hand. It was a long and tedious process that continued for several years. This was because Helen could neither distinguish between the different tonalities of the speaker nor look at his expressions.
  14. 14. The next important lesson for Helen was learning how to read. Once Helen had managed to spell a few words, her teacher gave her slips of cardboard with raised letters printed on them. Helen promptly learned that each printed word stood for an object, an act, or a quality. She was given the slips of paper, which represented, for example, “doll”, “is”, “on”, “bed”, and each name was placed on the relevant object. Her doll was put on the bed with words is, on, bed arranged beside the doll, thus making a sentence out of it. From the printed slips Helen moved on to read printed books. Helen enjoyed hunting for the words she knew in her book “Reading for Beginners". Miss Sullivan taught Helen with the help of illustrations through beautiful story or a poem. In this way, she made each difficult lesson easy to learn. The early lessons were carried out in the sunlit woods. Among other places that Helen often visited were the garden and the orchard. Helen’s favorite walk was to the Keller’s Landing, an old wharf on the Tennessee River. There she was also given geography lessons in a playful manner without any exhaustion or feeling of being taught lessons. Helen built dams with
  15. 15. Another time, a beautiful shell was gifted to Helen, and it helped her to learn about the habitat of the marine animals. She associated the shell building process with the working of the mind. Just as the Nautilus changes the material it absorbs from water and makes it a part of itself, similarly, the mind converts the “bits of knowledge” that one gathers into “pearls of thought". Miss Sullivan picked up illustrations for her lessons from life itself. She taught the growth of a plant by making observations on a growing lily plant kept on the window. Helen learnt about the behaviour of animals by feeling the tadpoles in a “glass globe” and monitoring their growth.Miss Sullivan was a teacher with great teaching skills: she was sympathetic and loving. She could seize the right moment for delivering knowledge to Helen, which made learning experience pleasant. Helen developed such closeness with her teacher that she hardly thought herself distant from her. She acknowledges her teacher for all the good in her and as a source of aspiration to gain knowledgeMiss Sullivan taught Helen arithmetic, botany and zoology with the same leisurely approach.A collection of fossils was once gifted to Helen by a gentleman. These served
  16. 16. • Helen eagerly waited for the first Christmas after the arrival of Miss Sullivan. Everyone in the house was planning surprises for Helen and she, in turn, was preparing surprises for them with the help of her teacher. Her friends incited her excitement by throwing hints at her with “half spelled words” and “incomplete sentences” which were both amusements and language lessons for her. Meanwhile, Miss Sullivan and Helen played the guessing game every evening to help her learn the use of language. On Christmas Eve, Helen was invited to a school in Tuscumbia. She felt excited in the presence of a beautiful Christmas tree standing in the centre of the room. She was delighted when asked to distribute presents among the school children. She received her gifts as well. However, she was not satisfied with these and wanted those gifts that were being planned by her family and friends. Later, she waited eagerly for the morning to discover her Christmas presents from Santa Claus and others. Helen woke up to a large number of gifts. She was most pleased by her teacher’s gift: a canary bird. Helen named the little bird as ‘Tim’ and Miss Sullivan taught her to take proper care of it. Tim was a friendly bird who
  17. 17. In May, 1888, Helen travelled to Boston with Miss Sullivan and her mother. This journey was different from the previous journey to Baltimore as she was no longer a young “restless” child. Instead, she was now a calm child sitting beside her teacher who was informing her about the views outside the car window: the Tennessee River, cotton fields, hills, woods and so on. After their arrival at Boston, Helen’s doll Nancy underwent a sad experience. During the journey, the doll became dirty and hence, the laundress at the Perkins Institution gave her a bath. Consequently, the doll turned into a “formless heap of cotton” and could only be recognized by Helen by her “two bead eyes". Helen could befriend the blind children at the Perkins Institute quite easily. She was delighted to be able to communicate with the blind children in her own language. Besides, she was happy to be at the same institute where Laura Bridgeman had been taught. She envied the blind children only in one aspect: their ability to hear. Eventually, Helen felt contended and happy in their company and forgot all her pain.
  18. 18. WhileHelenwas at Boston,she visitedthe BunkerHill.Thereshe had her first history lesson. She was thrilled to imaginethat she was standingat the highstairwaywhichwas onceused by the soldiers to shoot theirenemies.The next day, they went to Plymouthby water. It was Helen’sfirst tripon theoceanand first voyage on a steamboat. On reaching their destination, she felt the curvesand cutsof the PlymouthRockand the “1620” engravedonit. A gentlemanat the PilgrimHall museumgaveher a smallmodelof the rock.She was familiarwiththe wonderfulstories about the Pilgrims thatvisitedthat rock.She couldidealizethemfor theirbravery and zeal to acquirehome inan unknown territory. Later on, she was disappointedto knowabout theirshamefulacts of persecutingminoritygroupslikethe ‘Quakers'.Amongher closefriendsat Bostonwere Mr. WilliamEndicottand his daughter. She was delightedby theirstrollthroughtheir rose-gardenof theirhouseat BeverlyFarms.Theirdogs, Leo and Fritz, werequite friendlywithHelenand thehorse, Nimrod, pokedhisnoseinher handto get a pat. She alsoenjoyedplaying inthe sand near the sea. Mr. Endicott toldher about great Europe- bound ships thatsailedby fromBoston. Helenrecountsher wholeexperienceat Boston as fullof pleasure and denotesthe cityin onephraseas “TheCity of KindHearts”.
  19. 19. When the Perkins institute closed for the summer, Helen and her teacher went to Brewster, on Cape Cod, to spend the vacation with a dear friend, Mrs. Hopkins. Helen had read about the sea in her book Our Worldand was excited to visit it. Once at the sea shore, she hurriedly plunged into the water. She was enjoying the water, when suddenly her foot struck a rock. Her “ecstasy” changed into fear as she started drowning. She struggled for a while and finally, the waves threw her back on the shore and she was supported by the embrace of her teacher. After she recovered from the panic, she innocently asked her teacher, “Who put salt in water?”After she had recovered from the incident, Helen enjoyed sitting on a big rock and feeling the dashing of waves against the rock, sending up a shower of spray. She noticed the movement of the waves and their affect on the pebbles and the beach. Miss Sullivan drew Helen’s attention to a sea organism---the horseshoe crab. Helen was so fascinated by it that she carried the heavy crab all the way to their house. On reaching their home, she carefully placed it in a trough of water. But to her surprise, it disappeared the next morning. Helen slowly but surely realized her mistake of separating the crab from his habitat and felt happy thinking that it had possibly safely travelled to its home.
  20. 20. Helenreturnedto herSouthernhomeinautumn. Shefelthappyandcontentwithherexperiencesinthe north.She spentherautumnmonthswithherfamilyat theirsummercottage,FernQuarry.Thecottagewaslikea “roughcamp” situatedon topof a mountain, neara limestonequarry. Helenspenthertimeina leisurelymannerat thecottage. Manyvisitorscameto FernQuarry. Intheevening,menplayedcardsandtalkedabouttheirhuntingexperiences.She wokeup inthemorningwiththesoundof rattlinggunsandthe smellof coffee. Allthemenwentoffto huntafter biddingeachothergoodluckfortheseason.Laterinthemorning,barbecuewasprepared. The“savouryodour”of meatmadeherhungryevenbeforethetableswereset. Afterward,thehuntingpartyalsojoinedthefeastof vealand roastpig,followingtheirdiscussionontheirhuntingeventsduringtheday. Helenhada ponyandshenamedit BlackBeauty,havingjustcompletedthebook. Sometimes,accompaniedby her teacher,sherode thepony.At times,MissSullivanwouldreleasethereinandtheponywouldstopat hiswillto eat leavesfromtrees.On otherdays, theywouldgo forwalksinthewoodsandreturnhomewitharmfulof laurcousins.els, fernsandotherbeautifulflowers.Sometimes,she wouldgo onsimilartripswithhersisterand cousins.
  21. 21. At thefootof the mountaintherewasa railroadand abouta miledistantwasa trestlespanninga deepgorge. Helenhadneveractuallybeenthereuntilonedaywhen she,alongwithhersisterandMissSullivan,gotlost inthe woods. Theycameacrossthetrestle,whichwasa shortcut to theirhome.Sincetheywerelost,theydecidedto take thiswayin spiteof thedangers:thetieswerewideapart andquitenarrow.Feelingtherailswiththetoes,Helen movedon thetrestlecautiouslybutwithoutfear. Suddenly,trainwasheardcominginfromtheotherside. Theyhadto climbquicklydownuponthecrossbraces whilethetrainpassedby. Withsomedifficulty,they regainedthetrack. When,ultimately,theyreachedback home,it hadgrownquitedarkandallthefamily memberswereout lookingforthem.
  22. 22. After her first visit to Boston, Helen continued to visit the north every winter. Once Helen went on a visit to a New England village. This village had frozen lakes and vast snow fields. It was here that Helen got to experience the snow. She explored the snow-covered hills and fields that were devoid of any life, the empty nests and the bare trees. One day, the advent of a snowstorm made Helen rush out-of-doors to enjoy the first few descending snowflakes. Gradually, the whole area was covered by snow and the morning became dark. In the evening, there was a snowstorm. Helen and her teacher spent their time sitting around the fire and narrating stories. At night, they could hear the terrifying noise of the wind on the trees around the house and the creaking and breaking sounds of the rafters. On the third day, the storm was over and sunlight peeped out from the clouds. It scattered to the different places making everything shine and glow. The trees were standing still as if statues of “white marble”. The roads and paths were all covered with snow. Helen could scarcely feel the earth below her Helen’s favorite pastime during the winters was tobogganing. Helen enjoyed plunging through the drifts, leaping hollows, drifting and swooping down upon the lake while riding on a toboggan.
  23. 23. With the loss of the ability to hear, Helen’s speech had died down. However, from a young age, she had an impulse to speak. She tried to feel the noise that she made by keeping one hand on her throat and the other on her lips, feeling their movements. She produced sounds not to speak but for the exercise of her vocal chords. There was a feeling of lack in Helen which needed to be fulfilled. She was not satisfied with the means of communication she used and desperately wanted to learn to speak. In 1890, Mrs. Lamson, one of the teachers at the Perkins Institutions, told Helen about a deaf and blind girl, Ragnhild Kaata who had been taught to speak. Helen resolved that she will also learn to speak and Mrs. Lamson took her for advice and assistance to Miss Sarah Fuller, the principal of Horace Mann School. Miss Sarah Fuller was a “sweet-natured lady” who started tutoring Helen on the 26th of March, 1890. Miss Fuller passed Helen’s hand lightly over her face to make her feel her tongue and lips when she made a sound. Within the first hour itself, Helen learnt six elements of speech: M, P, A, S, T, I. “It is warm” is the first complete sentence that Helen managed to utter. In total, eleven lessons were given to her by Miss Fuller.
  24. 24. The syllables were broken but, nevertheless, human. She was eager to share her happiness with her family and to see the joy on their faces. Miss Fuller taught her the elements of the speech but she was to continue practicing herself with Miss Sullivan’s help. Miss Sullivan dragged Helen’s attention to the “mispronounced words”. Helen had to depend on the vibrations felt by her fingers, the movement of the mouth and expressions of the face. Discouragement wearied her efforts initially but as soon as she thought of the joy of her family, she felt optimistic. Helen gave up the manual alphabet method to develop her speech even though Miss Sullivan and her friends continued to use it to communicate with her. Finally, the happiest moment arrived. Helen had developed speech and was eager to return home. As she reached the station and her family heard her speak, they were overjoyed. Her mother was speechless with delight and hugged her tightly; Mildred danced in joy clasped her hand and kissed her; and her father expressed his pride and affection by a “big silence”.
  25. 25. During her stay at the Fern Quarry, Miss Sullivan described to her the beauty of the “late foliage” plants. This apparently revived in Helen the memory of a story that had been read to her in the past. The story had been unconsciously retained in her mind but she thought that she was making up the story herself. She eagerly jotted down her ideas before they would slip away from her mind. The words and images smoothly flowed from her mind and she felt the joy of composing a story. The story was called “The Frost king”. She did not realize that the words and images coming to her mind without effort were not her own. For her, the boundary line between her own ideas and those she gathered from the books were blurred because most of the impressions came to her mind through the “medium of others’ eyes or ears". After completing the story, she read it to everyone at dinner. Despite some pronunciation errors, she managed to impress everyone with her story. However, someone did ask her if she had read the story in a book. Helen did not have the faintest recollection of the story been read to her and so she denied it saying that it was her story and she had written it for Mr. Anagnos. Mr. Anagnos was delighted with her story and published it in one of the Perkins Institution reports. During her short stay in Boston, Helen was astonished to discover that her story “The Frost King” was similar to “The Frost Fairies” written by Miss Margaret T. Canby. This story had appeared in the book, “Birdie and His Friends”, which was published even before Helen's birth. The fact that the language of the two stories was alike confirmed that Miss Canby’s story had been read to her and that hers was “a plagiarism”. Her joy changed into grief.Mr. Anagnos felt deceived. He believed that Helen and Miss Sullivan had deliberately stolen the thoughts of a great writer to win his appreciation.
  26. 26. Helen was brought before a court of investigation where she was examined and cross-examined by the teachers and officers of the Perkins Institution. The investigators seemed to force Helen to acknowledge that she remembered “The Frost Fairies” being read to her. Helen felt heavy at her heart because of the doubts and suspicions from her loved ones. She could respond to them only in monosyllables. Her consciousness could not be unburdened by the realization that she had only committed a ‘dreadful’ mistake. At last she was allowed to leave the room. Her friends and family assured her that she was a brave girl and that they were proud of her. That night, Helen wept pitiably, suffering for her mistake. Miss Sullivan had never heard “The Frost Fairies”, let alone read it to Helen. So, with the assistance of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, she investigated the matter. At last, it was found out that Miss Canby’s story had been narrated to Helen by Mrs. Sophia Hopkins when she had spent a summer with her at Brewster. Even though Helen did not recall hearing the story, it sustained in her memory.During this distressing time, Helen received a lot of messages of love and sympathy from her loved ones. She also received a kind note from Miss Canby herself, encouraging her to write something of her own in future that might help others. This was comforting to Helen but she was afraid of “playing with words” again for a long time fearing that she would repeat her mistake again. Miss Sullivan’s encouragement, however, helped her to continue writing in future.
  27. 27. .Helen recognized herself as a part of the process of learning by “assimilation” and “imitation” to put ideas into words. Her early compositions are mainly assimilation of the descriptions from various forgotten sources. Helen gives an example of the composition she wrote for Mr. Anagnos about the beauty of the Greek and Italian old cities. Mr. Anagnos appreciated the ‘poetical essence’ in her ideas. Helen was happy that even though the works resembled a “crazy patchwork” comprising of her own thoughts and others’, they proved her ability to express of her admiration for beautiful objects in clear and “animated” language. The good part of the tragic experience of “The Frost King” was that Helen started thinking about the problems of composition. After the publication of “The Story of My Life” in the “Ladies’ Home Journal”, Mr. Anagnos, in a letter to Macy, stated his views supporting Helen in the matter of the “Frost King”. He also stated that he had cast his vote in favour of Helen in the court of investigation. Helen remarks the “Frost King” incident as an important one for her education and, therefore, has included it in the chapter without an attempt to defend herself or laying the blame on anyone else.
  28. 28. Helen Keller would not be bound by conditions. Rendered deaf and blind at 19 months by scarlet fever, she learned to read (in several languages) and even speak, eventually graduating with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, where as a student she wrote The Story of My Life. That she accomplished all of this in an age when few women attended college and the disabled were often relegated to the background, spoken of only in hushed tones, is remarkable. But Keller's many other achievements are impressive by any standard: she authored 13 books, wrote countless articles, and devoted her life to social reform. An active and effective suffragist, pacifist, and socialist (the latter association earned her an FBI file), she lectured on behalf of disabled people everywhere. She also helped start several foundations that continue to improve the lives of the deaf and blind around the world.As a young girl Keller was obstinate, prone to fits of violence, and seething with rage at her inability to express herself. But at the age of 7 this wild child was transformed when, at the urging of Alexander Graham Bell, Anne Sullivan became her teacher, an event she declares "the most important day I remember in all my life." (Sullivan herself had once been blind, but partially recovered her sight after a series of operations.) In a memorable passage, Keller writes of the day "Teacher" led her to a stream and repeatedly spelled out the letters-a-t-e-r on one of her hands while pouring water over the other. This method proved a revelation: "That living world awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away." And, indeed, most of them were. In her lovingly crafted and deeply perceptive autobiography, Keller's joyous spirit is most vividly expressed in her connection to nature: Indeed, everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom, had a part in my education.... Few know what joy it is to feel the roses pressing softly into the hand, or the beautiful motion of the lilies as they sway in the morning breeze. Sometimes I caught an insect in the flower I was plucking, and I felt the faint noise of a pair of wings rubbed together in a sudden terror....
  29. 29. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller reveals many of the occurrences of her childhood and many of the influences in her life. Her father, Arthur H Keller has a huge impact on Helen's development, tirelessly looking for methods and people to help her. Helen's father, a captain in the Confederate Army, has been married before and Helen's mother Kate is much younger than he. Helen remembers Captain Keller as a loving father who takes great pleasure in pleasing his daughter. He is proud of his garden and grows the best grapes, berries, watermelons and strawberries and Helen is always the first to taste the sweet, ripe grapes. He knows that Helen also loves the garden, "the paradise of my childhood“ and relishes leading her through the garden. He is also an accomplished hunter and a gracious host to regular guests. As a newspaper editor, Helen, as a blind and deaf girl, is often perplexed by his work as, even when she puts his glasses on, she can still not conclude what he might be doing and only years later can she understand his occupation. He also tells Helen, after she has learnt the manual alphabet, thus setting "my spirit free," anecdotes which Helen recalls at "opportune moments,“ thus bringing her father much delight. A breakthrough for the family, after being "grieved and perplexed Comes when Helen's father takes her to see a Dr Chisolm who then refers them to Dr Alexander Graham Bell and he is the first step towards "the door through which I should pass from darkness into light."
  30. 30. Mildred Keller is Helen's younger sister as explained in The Story of My Life. There is not a lot of information on Mildred in the autobiography but the reader does learn that, after an event when Helen tips Mildred out of a crib, the two sisters do grow "into each other's hearts“. Helen is jealous of the attention that Mildred gets from her mother - attention that used to be directed to her. One day she notices that Mildred has been placed in a crib reserved for Helen's beloved doll, Nancy, and it is just as well that Helen's mother is on hand to avoid catastrophe. One year, whilst spending the summer at the family's cottage in Fern Quarry, Mildred tells Helen all about what she sees - the train tracks and cows straying on to them, and the trestle. Helen and Mildred go walking in the woods with Miss Sullivan but unfortunately they get lost. It is Mildred who spots the trestle which allows them to find their way back but not before they are almost run over by a train. When they do return, the family is out looking for them as it is so late. A poignant moment for Helen when she realizes that she and Mildred will be able to communicate more effectively is when Helen learns to speak and no longer feels "dumb."The most important thing on Helen's mind is that "My little sister will understand me now."Helen's family are delighted at her achievement with Mildred taking Helen's hand and dancing. When Helen goes to The Cambridge School, Mildred also attends and the sisters are inseparable "for six happy months "although they are eventually withdrawn from the school after a disagreement between the school and Helen's parents.
  31. 31. The Story of My Life reveals Annie Sullivan as the inspiration behind Helen Keller's extraordinary life. She is only partially-sighted herself, after undergoing surgery to correct her vision at a young age and herself having been educated at The Perkins Institute for The Blind, a place instrumental in Helen Keller's own development. Anne Sullivan, Annie, is the person responsible for "the most important day I remember in all my life“ as Helen recognizes Annie's contribution throughout her life as teacher, interpreter, friend, companion and motivator. Annie never misses an opportunity to teach Helen, whether it be academically or life skills. She teaches Helen an appreciation in even the smallest detail: "in every blade of grass, and in the curves and dimples of my baby sister's hand." Annie has the capacity to help Helen connect with nature and "made me feel that 'birds and flowers and I were happy peers.'" One of Annie Sullivan's most instrumental effects is felt when she makes Helen "Think." It is this that helps Helen make the connection between the abstract and the physical as "you feel the sweetness that it (love) pours into everything."Annie makes "every subject so real that I could not help remembering.“So profound is the impact that Annie Sullivan has on Helen that "her being is inseparable from my own, and (that) the footsteps of my life are in hers.”
  32. 32. Helen’s association with Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was at the age of six in Washington in the year 1886.It was on the advice of Dr. Bell Helen’s parents sent her to speech classes at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston which proved to be the foundation of Helens education and life. In fact, Helen has dedicated her autobiography The Story of My Life to Dr. Bell, an inventor and a teacher of the deaf. Helen was greatly fascinated with the sympathetic and tender nature of Dr.Bell and visited him at his home and laboratory. It was on his suggestion that Helens father wrote to Mr. Anagnos and subsequently found Miss Sullivan as a teacher. Dr. Bell accompanied Helen and Miss Sullivan on their visit to the Worlds Fair in 1893. Dr. Bell who is a wonderful and patient teacher could instill enthusiasm in his students with his delightful explanations. Helen notes that Dr. Bell was a humourous person and a poet with unlimited love for children, especially for the deaf. Alexander Graham Bell and Helen Keller got along very well and remained good friends.
  33. 33. THANK YOU BY- DILPREET SINGH 10-B 10209

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