Analysis of The Helen Keller Story
The Helen Keller Story tells it’s readers all about Helen and her hardships. Starting from when she was born, to her death date on June 1, 1968. Born on June 27, 1880, Helen was diagnosed with the Scarlet fever at just the age of a year and 7 months, in which took her ability to see and hear. Throughout the book, you are able to learn about how Helen carried the weight of being blind and deaf at an age where she became used to having those privileges. You are also able to read about Anne Sullivan, Helens friend and teacher all throughout her lifetime. The entire book is all about Helen Keller and her family and friends during these hardships. This author of this book describes in detail about Helen’s beautiful life and the impact she made on the world around her.
In 1982, around January, Helen keller had just been announced deaf and blind after the vicious Scarlet Fever, unknownst as to why the fever had made kids and adults develop disabilities. At first, Helen’s mother and father, Kate and Arthur Keller did not believe anything serious had been going on. They had thought it was just a fever, no more no less. After a while, her parents began to be a little skeptical about what was happening. Helen began to not eat and no longer showed the emotion she did as a the happy baby she had been before. They called in their family doctor to exam little baby Helen. After a long exam, he then diagnosed her after he saw how she reacted to certain testing etc. At the beginning, they did not think she would be affected because they had actually cured it, which was extremely rare due to lack of medicine back then. Close to a month after, Helen lost her hearing and sight, leaving her disabled for life. Afterwards, Kate and Artur were very upset with their doctor, which is expected. They were angry at him for not seeing this sooner. This leads into a life of difficulties for Helen Keller.
After learning that Helen would carry this burden for life, Kate and Arthur had began searching endlessly for teachers, professionals, or schools to teach Helen how to live a normal life from now on. On certain occasions, Kate Keller was just egged on to put her daughter away, send her away, give up on her, etc. Though she would not give up on her daughter because she knew that Helen was intelligent, with disabilities or no disabilities. Though, one late evening came along, Kate and Artur were in the living room while Helen and the kids had been sleeping. Kate was reading a newspaper article. She had come across something that would start the course of making Helens life livable once again. “American Notes” by the famous author, Charles Dicken had appeared on the paper. Shocked, Kate called out to Arthur, “Listen to this!”. Charles had been writing about the time he had visited Perkins Institution for the Blind. In the article, he had wrote “The Children there were at their daily tasks in different rooms. . ”. He went on to write about how positive the environment was for children and how clean and in good order the institution was. He also wrote that there were plenty of workshops for the kids to take part in. They even had music therapy, which Kate was extremely interested in. Her mother had continued on about his article, but Arthur was not really buying it. He felt that Dickens enjoyed to dramatize things, but he agreed with kate that it was wise to check on Perkins just to see their options. This was just the beginning of their findings for Helen.
As it had been all around town, there were countless people offering options to the family of things that they have heard of or recently read. One day, Kate and Arthur’s kind neighbor had dropped by to let them know about a doctor he had heard of. Dr. Chisholm was his name. He had been known to cure countless blind children with extreme cases, so the parents thought they’d try him out. Hoping on a train to baltimore, the family was anxious to see what he had to say. Unfortunately, the only thing he could tell them is that Helen was permanently blind and her case was not within his abilities. Disappointed, the parents asked the Dr. his thoughts on what they should move onto. “Why don’t you stop and see Alexander Graham Bell?’ he had asked. He went on to tell them all about how he knows a great deal when it comes to teaching deaf students and how he is a very understanding man. Finally, after much anticipation, they had arrived in Washington. After meeting Dr. Bell and sitting down with him, they had learned that Helen was a very teachable child and very bright. Kate, Helen’s mother had wanted to know how she alone could teach a blind and deaf child when she didn’t even know how to communicate with her. Oddly enough, after some talking, Dr. Bell had brought up Perkins Institution. They were beyond happy seeing as they had heard of it just a few weeks beforehand. Now that Dr. Bell knew they had heard of it from the Charles Dickens article, he had asked about Laura Bridgman, who was also a handicapped child. He had educated them on her mentor, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, who had actually passed away. Though he felt it was necessary to also tell them about his successor, Dr. Michael Anagnos. Having overlooked his “splendid work with handicapped children”, he said, he suggested that the parents write him about Helen. “Write the letter to Mr. Anagnos immediately”, Mrs. Keller had said. Captain Keller had gotten right to it, sending him a detailed description of Helen and her story as a handicapped child, hoping for good news.
A reply came from Perkins Institution very soon after. Before summer had ended, Mr. Anagnos had selected one of his former students, Anne Sullivan who was twenty years old. Anne Sullivan had once been a blind child/student at Perkins beforehand, but she had seen Dr. Chisholm and he was able to cure her. Before coming to Helen in Alabama, she studied during her winter weeks on Dr. Howe’s records on laura Bridgman, they were expecting her in the beginning of March. Before Anna had come, little Helen had been tyrannizing the household with her pranks, such as locking doors and hiding keys, yanking tablecloths filled with dishes to the floor.
After long days of waiting for her to show up, the day has come. “We were afraid you weren’t coming” said Mrs. Keller. Anne Sullivan had went on to explain her sorrows about being so late and that she had to change trains due to having the wrong ticket. Arriving to the Keller’s home, Anne had saw Helen and gathered her in her arms.
Being blind and deaf, Helen had no idea what was coming towards her. From heavy vibrations and not recognizing the sound as one of her family members, she had concluded that it was a stranger and a stranger to Helen meant danger. Helen drove off Anne Sullivan with kicks and punches to the legs. Taking Anne’s bag, Helen hurried upstairs and went through her belongings. Kate attempted to take it, but Anne encouraged her to let Helen feel the contents. Feeling around the bag, she felt a doll being placed in her hands, Anne placed a doll into her hands and began to draw into her palm what it was. Since Helen didn’t know her, she did not like it. After many days of Helen refusing to do things, Anne finally had a breakthrough with her when one night “teacher” which is what Helen called Anne, spelled “m-u-g” in Helen’s hand when she pointed to a mug filled with milk. They had finally made progress with Helen and they couldn’t be prouder.
With years of teaching, Helen was now in her freshman year at Radcliffe College. Back then, there were no dormitories in colleges so at the time Anne and Helen lived a small furnished apartment in a frame house about a mile away on 73 Dana Street. Helen attended classes like language, literature, fine arts, botany, chemistry, economics, and government which were all taught by harvard professors. Now that Helen was much older and experienced, Radcliffe and her professors agreed that Anne, her teacher was not to help with anything other then listening. Throughout her college career, she excelled in all her classes and even did better than most of the non-handicapped students.
Fresh out of college, Helen had countless amazing opportunities such as writing her own books, such as “The Story of My Life”, ”The World I Live In”, ”Light in My Darkness”, ”The Song of the Stone Wall”, etc. She also went on to receive many awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an Academy Award for her film, “Helen Keller in Her Story”, etc. Along with those amazing achievements, she was the first blind-deaf woman to receive a Bachelor’s degree. Published her first book in 1903, along with 12 other books following. She co-founded Helen Keller international in 1915. She was a prominent political and social activist. She as a leading member of the American Foundation for the blind. She was a world renowned speaker. She ranked as one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Accomplishing many things, she still remains an inspirational icon for millions across the world.
In my opinion, I really enjoyed this book. I liked how they went through her whole life and explained everything in great detail. This book is a great choice for anyone who wants to read about Helen keller or the history she has made in the world.
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