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Helen Keller – a Woman Who Broke Down Social Barrier

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Helen Keller broke down a social barrier by going to college and getting a bachelors degree, writing her book, and speaking in different countries about her experiences being blind and deaf.

Helen Keller went to college at Perkins School of the blind, for four years she went to Cambridge school for young ladies for one year, to prepare for going to Radcliffe College. She then graduated from Radcliffe in 1904 and became the first person deaf and blind to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Helen Keller learned and wrote using a Groove board. She wrote on the paper, and under the paper was grooves. She learned Braille script which helped her understand things faster. Throughout her years in college, she has written many famous essays and many books explaining her experiences and challenges being a deaf and blind woman. She broke down a barrier by showing that if you work hard enough, anyone can get a bachelor in arts degree.

Helen Keller wrote her book, “The Story of My Life”, published in 1903. Her book explains her autobiography, it details her early childhood life, and her experiences with Anne Sullivan, her tutor, and caregiver. Helen Keller’s first book has three parts, the first two are her story and her explaining her experiences the best she can, the third part of her book is the editor’s records and advice coming from Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan. Some quotes and emotions she felt while writing her book was fear, and she says “the shadows of the prison-house are on rest”, she describes the feeling she felt while she was blind and deaf. She describes all her family members, on her mother and father’s sides. She claimed to remember when she was first diagnosed. She loved learning how to read, “I took my reader for beginners and hunted for words I knew, it was like playing hide and seek”, she said. Helen Keller has several other books she wrote, another famous one is” Light in my Darkness”, and her essay, “Optimism”. She became famous and broke down a barrier by sharing her story with the world.

During Helen’s experiences, she also traveled around the world and spoke in front of thousands of people so they can also hear her story. Helen Keller learned five different languages. She met Mark Twain and he was amazed by her talents and accomplishments. She became a inspiration for many people, and during her speeches it showed even if you have a disability, if you work hard and you are determined, everyone can accomplish what they want to do in their lives. Helen Keller changed the perspectives people think about disabled people. She loved helping others. Helen Keller learned how to speak by placing her hand on someone’s face, her thumb over the larynx, index finger on the lips and her middle finger against someone’s nose. Helen Keller also used sign language in her life. What disappointed her most was not speaking normally, “out of this sorrowful experience, stanmore fully all human strivings, thwarted ambitions, and infinite capacity of hope”, she said. Helen Keller was embarrassed to speak, but she wanted her story known and that’s how she is an inspiration today. That is how she broke down a barrier.

During Helen Keller’s life, she was received many honors in recognition to achieving things. Helen was born on June 27th, 1880, in Tuscumba, Alabama. She has three other siblings. Helen’s father was an officer in the confederate army during the Civil War. Helen started speaking when she was just six months old. When she lost her hearing and sight, she was diagnosed with “brain fever”, this causes a high body temperature, which in today’s medical, would have been scarlet fever or meningitis. A few days after she was cured, her other noticed that Helen was not responding when the dinner bell rang. Soon, Helen learned sign language, during this, Helen became wild and unruly. Keller went and saw Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the light bulb, which took care of deaf children at the time. Keller’s tantrums got worse, they moved to a quiet cottage on a plantation. In 1890, Helen began speech classes at the Horace Mann School for the deaf in Boston, MA. Helen Keller became determined to attend college. She then became one of the twentieth centuries leading humanitarians of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Helen Keller experienced a numerous amount of strokes in 1961, and dealing with health problems, she spent her last years of her life at her home in Connecticut. Helen Keller died in her sleep on June 1st, 1968, almost before her eighty eighth birthday. She stood as a powerful example of determination, and how it’s good to never give up, because you can accomplish anything if you work hard for it. Through out her life, she experienced social and political issues. She co-founded the Helen Keller International to have consequences of blindness and malnutrition. At the age of seventy five, Helen had to do hundreds of speeches in Asia for five months. She brought great feelings to all the people attending. During her life, she got plenty of medals and trophies.

Helen Keller “broke down barriers” in the United States by showing examples of how you can accomplish anything you desire, but you just have to work hard. When she was diagnosed with being blind and deaf, she did not want to end her life, she wanted to make something out of it. 

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