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Helen Keller and Her Autobiography 'The Story of My Life'

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Words: 1511 |

Page: 1|

8 min read

Published: Sep 25, 2018

Words: 1511|Page: 1|8 min read

Published: Sep 25, 2018

Table of contents

  1. Introduction to Author
  2. Summary
  3. Themes
  4. Conclusion

Introduction to Author

Helen Keller was a writer, educator, and activist for people with disabilities. Tuscumbia, Alabama is where she was born on June 27, 1880. She become blind and deaf at the age of nineteen months due to an illness that is now thought to be scarlet fever. Five years later, on the recommendation of Alexandra Graham Bell, her parents sought for a teacher at Boston's Perkins Institute for the Blind, and Anne Mansfield Sullivan was hired from there. The tiny child learned to understand and communicate with the world around her because to Sullivan's exceptional guidance.

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Keller learnt to read and write in Braille from Sullivan, as well as how to use the deaf-hand mute's gestures, which she could only understand by touch. Her later attempts to learn to speak were less successful, and she needed an interpreter to make herself understood during public engagements. Nonetheless, she had a huge influence as an educator, organiser, and fundraiser, and she was responsible for numerous advancements in public services for the disabled.

Keller studied at deaf schools in Boston and New York City, with Sullivan repeating lectures into her hand, and graduated from Radcliffe College cum laude in 1904. Her remarkable achievements in overcoming her disabilities made her a celebrity at a young age; she published an autobiographical sketch in the Youth's Companion at the age of twelve, and during her junior year at Radcliffe, she published The Story of My Life, which is still in print in over fifty languages. Keller also wrote four more novels about her life, as well as a book about religion, a book about contemporary social issues, and a biography of Anne Sullivan. She also contributed to a number of national publications.

Keller supported herself and Sullivan on the vaudeville stage for the next two years, in addition to her many appearances on the lecture circuit. Keller made a movie in Hollywood, Deliverance, in 1918, to dramatise the plight of the blind. She also advocated for women's rights and other liberal causes, and in 1940, she firmly supported the United States' participation into World War II.

Keller became an adviser and fundraiser for the newly created American Foundation for the Blind in 1924. Her international reputation and pleasant nature enabled her to garner the assistance of a number of affluent individuals, including Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and motion picture industry executives. Helen Keller International was the name given to the AFB's branch for the blind in other countries. Keller and Sullivan were the themes of William Gibson's Pulitzer Prizewinning drama The Miracle Worker, which premiered in New York in 1959 and was adapted into a popular Hollywood picture in 1962.

Keller, who was widely honoured around the world and was welcomed to the White House by every US president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson, changed the world's perspective of disabled people's abilities. Her courage, knowledge, and determination combined to make her a symbol of the victory of the human spirit over adversity more than any other deed in her long life.

Summary

Helen Keller was born in the little Alabama town of Tuscumbia on June 27, 1880. She was diagnosed with a disease that left her blind and deaf when she was a year old. Even with her family, it was difficult for her to communicate in the early years after her illness; she lived in complete darkness, sometimes angry and disappointed that no one could understand her. Everything changed in March of 1887, when Helen's teacher, Anne Sullivan, moved in with the family in Alabama and completely transformed Helen's life. Miss Sullivan taught Helen how to name objects by handing them to her and having her spell out the letters in their names. Helen learnt to spell these phrases by emulating them without realising what she was doing, but she gradually realised that everything had a name and that Miss Sullivan was teaching her how to spell them. Helen picked up language quickly after that; she especially enjoyed studying in nature, where she and her teacher would go on walks and she would ask questions about her surroundings. Helen learnt to read soon after that, thanks to Miss Sullivan, who taught her by giving her strips of cardboard with raised letters on them and then had her read them to her.

Helen travelled to Boston with her mother and teacher in May 1888. She studied at the Perkins Institute for the Blind for a while and rapidly made friends with other blind girls her age. Helen got her first taste of the ocean while they were on vacation in Brewster, Cape Cod. They spent practically every winter after that up north. Helen was determined to learn how to talk after she had learnt to read. Her teacher and many others thought she'd never be able to talk normally, but she was determined to get there. Helen began learning with Miss Sarah Fuller at the Horace Mann School in 1890, and she learned by feeling the position of Miss Fuller's lips and tongue while she talked. Her first words, 'It is warm,' were a powerful memory for her: she was overjoyed at the prospect of finally being able to communicate with her family and friends.

Helen had a difficult time throughout the winter of 1892. She created a narrative called 'The Frost King,' apparently inspired by the lovely fall foliage around her, and sent it up to her teacher at the Perkins Institute as a gift. Helen's narrative was subsequently discovered to be quite similar to one in a published book called 'The Frost Fairies.' Helen had been told the original storey as a youngster, and the lines had become so embedded in her mind that she had unknowingly plagiarised them when she wrote her own. For a long time, Helen's relationship with her Perkins Institute teacher, Mr. Anagnos, was contaminated by this, and she began to question her own thinking and the originality of her thoughts.

Helen began studying formal courses like history, Latin, French, German, and arithmetic at the Wright-Humanson School for the Deaf in New York City in 1894. She started her education at the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in Massachusetts in 1896, with the goal of attending Radcliffe College, a women's college affiliated with Harvard University. This was her first year at school, and she was excited to be among girls who could see and hear rather than children who were deaf or blind. She persevered despite the difficulties; nonetheless, her mother eventually withdrew her from the Cambridge School so that she could continue her Radcliffe training with a private tutor.    Helen utilises the closing chapters of her memoir to talk about things that are significant to her, such as her love of literature, her favourite activities, and the friends who moulded her life. Helen's personal letters written during her childhood, as well as further commentary from her editor and a firsthand description by Helen's teacher, Anne Sullivan, are included in two additional sections of the autobiography.

Themes

The value of perseverance is emphasised in 'The Story of My Life.' It also honours the never-say-die spirit of overcoming insurmountable challenges and barriers in life. Helen Keller, a deaf and dumb kid, learned to talk and connect meaningfully with the outside world through pure determination. Helen was undoubtedly frustrated and helpless at times, but she was determined to succeed. She was a formidable opponent. Helen Keller overcome adversity and blindness that seemed insurmountable. She became known around the world as a symbol of tenacity and never-say-die determination.

'The Story of My Life,' her autobiography, was written while she was only 22 years old. The autobiography continues to inspire and guide thousands of blind and deaf youngsters who live in a world of darkness and quiet. Miss Sullivan arrived to open up a world of communication to her, and she lived in her solitary world until she met Miss Sullivan. Anne taught her lip-reading, braille, and manual sign language. Helen's accomplishments are incredible. Her quest for information was unquenchable, and she was a voracious reader.

The idea that even the blind and deaf can have a good, productive, and enjoyable life is another significant subject of the autobiography. Helen Keller provided an example for all physically challenged people, particularly deaf and dumb people. She was the first deaf and blind person to receive a bachelor's degree. She liked to read Shakespeare and Dickens, and she was a good reader. She read nearly all of the major French and German authors. Swimming, sailing, canoeing, and exploring mountains and beaches were among her favourite activities. She possessed an inner eye that could perceive the natural world's exquisite sights, sounds, and smells. She adored being in the presence of famous and brilliant people of her era like Alexander Graham Bell and Mark Twain.

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Conclusion

Finally, Helen Keller is a source of inspiration for millions of people. Helen also assisted blind and deaf persons from other nations. She aided many people in living long and healthy lives. Helen Keller was tenacious and persevered in the face of adversity. She was also a determined woman. Helen Keller is a role model.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Deceptive Methods of American News and Corrupt Politicians in the Article How I Became a Socialist by Helen Keller. (2022, December 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-deceptive-methods-of-american-news-and-corrupt-politicians-in-the-article-how-i-became-a-socialist-by-helen-keller/
“The Deceptive Methods of American News and Corrupt Politicians in the Article How I Became a Socialist by Helen Keller.” GradesFixer, 06 Dec. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-deceptive-methods-of-american-news-and-corrupt-politicians-in-the-article-how-i-became-a-socialist-by-helen-keller/
The Deceptive Methods of American News and Corrupt Politicians in the Article How I Became a Socialist by Helen Keller. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-deceptive-methods-of-american-news-and-corrupt-politicians-in-the-article-how-i-became-a-socialist-by-helen-keller/> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
The Deceptive Methods of American News and Corrupt Politicians in the Article How I Became a Socialist by Helen Keller [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Dec 06 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-deceptive-methods-of-american-news-and-corrupt-politicians-in-the-article-how-i-became-a-socialist-by-helen-keller/
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