The Story of Helen Keller as Shown in The Miracle Worker
How would one describe life without making references to the five senses most humans posses? Not the easiest thing to do, right? If someone had the opportunity to talk to Helen Keller before the age of seven I think she would have to agree with this statement. The first glimpses one sees of Helen can be compared to that of a modern day zombie; her arms flailing out in front of her as she wallows through the front yard grasping on to anything in front of her to make sure she does not run into the scenery. One cannot help but feel bad for the child, while not only imagining their life in her shoes. Helen overcomes unseen obstacles that change her life in a way she never thought would be possible.
Helen’s mother, father and family play a crucial role in the film. In some of the first scenes of the family gathered around and Helen, played by the actress Patty Duke, now around the age of seven, the audience gets a glimpse of what home life was like with a child that is deaf blind and basically mute. They treated her with love and care but pitied the child because of her abnormalities. The director did a good job of portraying the frustration that would entail with having to deal with someone who needed so much attention and could not live without the constant support of the people that love her. The burden was of large proportions and it is seen throughout the movie.
The family finally came to a decision of acquiring a teacher that could come and try and bring some humanity to Helen. Her name was Miss Sullivan. Miss Sullivan took on the challenge and immediately enters into the movie trying to communicate with her. One scene that sticks out is the train ride from Boston to the deep south of Alabama. This long and rigorous train ride that took multiple days was portrayed as erratic and horrific. The director wanted to show the serious life change that was about to happen in Miss Sullivan’s life. Alabama was no Boston and Miss Sullivan was about to take on the biggest challenge of her life. She would try to teach Helen the beauty of language and what its like to experience the world through words.
To say that the transitions of having someone come in and change your life in a way never dreamed of was smooth would be a lie. There were many scenes of conflict and childlike temper tantrums when Miss Sullivan would try to teach Helen words and how to have manners. The director was portraying how change does not come easy for humans. It is much easier to sit comfortably in one’s ways. It takes a strong person to change one’s ideology and make someone realize that the unknown can be filled with awe and beauty never even dreamed of. That is what Helen was about to experience the day language filled her life.
In the biography of Helen Keller, Keller states: “Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand.”(Keller, 6) On this day language finally cliqued in Helen’s brain. In the movie the audience sees the once helpless pitiful girl as someone who can communicate. The director did a wonderful job in this scene. The happiness and joy shown by Helen and the family can only melt the heart of those watching. After the long struggle between Miss Sullivan who has shown so much heart and patience with this girl, now has succeeded in what she and only she set out to accomplish from the beginning.
The set and setting of the movie takes place in the late 19th century, right after the civil war. The director gives it away when the family sometimes refers to the father of Helen as “Captain.” The movie was made well after color film was brought onto the market. Yet, the director chose to film in black and white. This brilliant move was chosen to take away one of the audience’s pleasures that most fully functioning humans can experience, which is being able to see full color. The director knew that the audience would be watching a film on a disabled child; why not disable color so the audience can relate in a small amount to Helen.
In conclusion the story of Helen Keller is truly inspiring and heartwarming. To see someone overcome such great odds when nothing was going their way could help the viewer believe that nothing is impossible. The director took on the challenge of having a main character that could not speak, listen or see and still bring the character to life. He did a wonderful job casting the characters. As the audience followed along the story, it was easy to relate with the mother, father, brother or even teacher when things would get out of hand, or the moments when things seemed to be turning around for Helen. When comparing the story to the movie there are slight differences, but the main reason is because in the story the reader is able to get inside Helen’s head; while when watching the film the director has to portray those thoughts into actions. Overall both pieces are incredibly done and should be viewed by all people to see that nothing can hold someone back if they have the will and determination to change, even when society and life are saying it cannot be done.
The Deceptive Methods of American News and Corrupt Politicians in the Article How I Became a Socialist by Helen Keller
“How I Became a Socialist”, an article by Helen Keller addressing her bouts with the press, gives hindsight to the deceptive methods of American news and corrupt politicians. In the article, Keller describes her fondness of the news to promote her campaign and ideas, however she also has many disagreements when it comes to their blowback regarding her views on socialism and the unjust decisions of the White House during World War I. Her impressive commentary reflects similar ethics conveyed in the first chapter of Loewen’s writing (Loewen 21), where she, and many of today’s scholars, strive to bring the whole truth to the eyes of readers abroad. She gives many examples as to how various newspapers applaud her for her past victory over blindness, yet slander her movements by disgracing the same disability in writing. This devious contradiction is a clear image revealing the shallow integrity of the news business, but more importantly a near parallel correlation to how Keller is viewed today. Modern textbooks sugarcoat Keller’s childhood and her relationship with Anne Sullivan, and the fact that they completely abandon her adult life creates a sense of suspicion regarding the past. The kind of suspicion where a reader not only wonders what was omitted, but why it would need to be taken out. That answer is simple- historians and parents don’t admire the truth. Keller’s answer- the truth is essential.
What Keller proved wrongful during Wilson’s reign as president is- yes, vengeful – but necessary. When people make promises they don’t keep, it often results in war, as it sure did. In the end, Keller may not have won the fight, but her legacy continues on for individuals who still fight to be heard today.
The Curious, Clever, and Violent Childhood of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker
One of the greatest human beings who ever lived is Helen Keller. She learned to interact and communicate with the world while being blind and deaf. She even wrote several books, including one about her life called The Story of My Life. However, during her childhood she only communicated with her family members using crude gestures. Her teacher, Ann Sullivan, learned many things about Helen while teaching her. In the Miracle Worker, Helen Keller is characterized as a curious, clever, and violent person.
As a child Helen was curious. Every young and inexperienced kid wants to feel the world and remember all the sights, the sounds and the scents. Being both deaf and blind, Helen tries to communicate by touching and tasting everything. For example, she eats from everyone’s plate and feels people’s faces and recognizes them by the way their face is shaped. In a way, she sees by feeling things. Helen is also a kinesthetic learner, first by feeling the object, then having someone spell it out in sign language for her to feel. She was curious because curiosity is a natural instinct of humans, especially young humans, to find out why something is or is not the way it is, which is one of the reasons why humans are the smartest sentient beings on the planet.
Being both smart and a self-learner, Helen was a clever girl, albeit being bereft of two of her senses. When Annie first taught Helen the word “doll”, she was surprised that Helen spelled it back to her when she felt the doll. She was clever when she locked her teacher in the room and concealed the key in her mouth. Although Helen was blind and deaf, she figured things out by herself, such as near the end of the movie when she realized that water has a meaning and is a thing. However, because she did not like the way Annie taught, she often slapped and hit her.
Helen was often violent and misunderstood by Annie. Before she learned to respect her teacher, Helen often tried to get as far away from Annie as possible. When Annie tried to teach Helen to eat properly, Helen tried to escape, threw her spoon, ate by using her hands and splashed water on Annie. Because she was deaf and blind, Helen probably got frustrated at not being able to see the world like most other people. When she played with her doll she tried to feel its eyes while simultaneously pushing the baby out of the crib. In her childhood experience, Helen’s disabilities have changed her in many ways, making her curious, clever and violent.
Overall, Helen Keller was inquisitive, shrewd, and fierce in character. Her curiosity led her to discover many things about life. Her cleverness allowed her to learn a lot. Her violence made her bold and passionate about her own views. Being one of the greatest humans that ever lived, Helen Keller is a true prodigy of all time.
Hidden Messages In Three Days To See By Helen Keller
Helen Keller, a woman, who can be seen as an awakening point for all of those who are her readers. When people start to read her biography, they firstly in the most times are surprised with a sentence “A deaf-blind American author, political activist, and lecturer.” In addition to this, even thought she was not blessed with the abilities of sight and hearing, she got a Bachelor degree in Arts for the first time in history as a deaf-blind human being. Furthermore, she published several books, essays, and her autobiography, The Story of My Life, at the age of 23 years old, and she wrote an inspirational and full of her desired abilities of sight and hearing essay which is “Three Days to See” that I am going to explain and show my understanding on.
The “Three Days to See” is seen as an essay that shows the heart-touching desires of a deaf-blind woman who wants to see the world through her well-natured eyes, but it is far more than this. Keller has given deeper messages, understanding, and hidden beauties of life in this piece of writing. She used an imagined story and a comparative language that she compared herself with blind eyes and those with natural eyes. Furthermore, in some cases, she ridiculed natural eyes owners. In general, in the essay, she imagined that she had three days with all human senses to see the world. Briefly, she wanted in that interval to collect enough memories that will remain for the rest life after her three days. In her first day, she wanted to see her teacher in eyes, friends, loyal dog’s eyes, a baby, her home, and taking a walk around the field. In the second day, she was going to Theatre and Museums which the last one she called a place that shows the past and present. The last day, she went to see the real present life in New York City, and she was watching people smiling, walking, and being busy and sad. Then as the last step, she visited the Theatre again, and she re-became blind finally. Despite of this interesting imagination, her actual purposes obviously are: making people aware of their blessings, and she advises readers to live each day “as if it were their last.” In my opinion, despite her strong will of sight and hearing, she has hidden messages among and between her sentences.
First, the significance of appreciating what we have at a moment. She explains how people careless about their blessings “only the deaf appreciate hearing. Only the blind realize the blessings that lie on light.” It means that people with all natural senses are not appreciating what they have till “they lose it.” Based on it, she encourages people to use their senses as much as possible because it is the reason, using, why they were created. She doubted about the eyes owners really see what is actually going around. For example, after a long walk, she questioned her friend “What did you see?” and she replies “Nothing in particular,” so she criticizes her and say that she could see and feel hundreds of things although she is blind. That is why she wished a course to teach people “How to Use Your Eyes.”
Second, there is a making priority that is interesting. She prioritized seeing her teacher at the first over all. If we were there, surely we would want to see something else, but by doing this in her writing, I think she wanted to say that the one who helps you to see and understand the real life and open your inner eyes to realize the inner meanings and beauties is more important than anything and anyone else. Then, seeing friends and surroundings that make her life “worthy” shows how should everyone gives huge value to their close relations. It means that people must remember who stood beside during the tough times and not forgetting them after that.
Third, in the first night of the first day, she said that she could not fall asleep due to that much of things that she has seen in a single day, but most of us have going through a numerous numbers of days without noticing anything, so she might mean to say that we as people just wasting our eyes and time, so she might want to explain how every day we lose tremendous packs of pure beauties.
Fourth, she dedicated the second day to Theatre and Museums. Despite their importance, she mentioned the words of “Past and Present” in the Museum which it might mean that to understand the life, we have to know about the past then the present as well.
Fifth, she emphasized to be optimistic in live and never disappointed as she said that “the dawn of each day must reveal a new beauty” which means that no matter how much beauty you have seen, each day there are many new beauties that waiting for your seeing. If every dawn be a sign of shining many new beauties, so what is the point of living under the cloud of darkness and sadness?
Sixth and finally, when she visited New York City, she saw many sights. She wrote how the “pleasant” sights made her heart fill, and how the “sad and ugly sights” made her uncomfortable, but she kept her eyes opened in both cases. It tells us that as the English quote says life is like a novel, maybe you do not like some slides and be excited about another slides, but at the end, the all slides, bad and good, completes the novel which is life. If you want to realize and understand life, you have to face problems, get excited and anxious, and experience many upward and downward.
The Story Of My Life: Analysis Of The Autobiography Of Helen Keller
Helen Adams Keller was an extraordinary woman who led the path for deaf and blind women and men. She was born in the town of Tuscumbia, Alabama. At 19 months old, a mysterious illness plagued her. Helen survived the sudden ailment, though famously, Helen was tragically left without her hearing nor her sight. After the illness, it was very hard for Helen to communicate with her friends and family. Helen felt as if she was lost in a strange and dark world without anyone to help guide her. Helen describes it as, “It felt like invisible hands were holding me, and I made frantic efforts to free myself.” Helen’s silence was broken when on March 3, 1817, when Helen’s teacher and past babysitter, Anne Sullivan, came to live with Helen’s family.
Anne Sullivan was a very patient woman. She is known as the only person able to teach young Helen. Miss Sullivan’s special and unique way of teaching was to give Helen the name of the object via spelling the word onto her hand and then letting her feel the object. Helen learned the words through imitation, and from her feeling the object. The first word that Helen learns through Miss Sullivan is water. Helen is overcome with joy as she learns her first word, water. She feels as that the word were a living thing and through it her triumph is felt throughout the passage, Helen is thrilled as she realized that that water and the word set something alive in her. From this experience, Helen began to learn new words and language rapidly. Soon after, Helen learned how to read books. Helen particularly enjoyed studying with Miss Sullivan out in the open such as in the backyard or deeper out. They would also take scenery walks, with Helen asking questions about their surroundings and Miss Sullivan answering her questions.
One of Helen’s more frightening experiences happened in the summer of 1887 when Miss Sullivan and her were having a picnic under a tree. Ms. Sullivan went to get their lunch and told Helen to stay at the base of the tree. Helen had not listened though, and climbed up the tree, had sat on a seat on one of the branches. A sudden storm blew up when Ms. Sullivan had gone to get the lunch. Helen suddenly feels a fear of being alone creep up upon her. She wants Ms. Sullivan to return and to get down from the tree. A strong wind blows the tree shaking the branches and almost blowing Helen off. Just as Ms. Sullivan returns Helen feels safe again, having been returned to her teacher and not being alone.
The first time Helen learned her first abstract idea/word, was a few days after Helen’s tree incident. Helen was stringing beads into symmetrical groups. Helen kept getting it wrong and Miss Sullivan would patiently point out her errors. Helen stops for a moment to think of how she could have done it better. Miss Sullivan jumps at the opportunity. She taps at Helen’s forehead and spells ‘Think’ into Helen’s hand. Helen then immediately understands that the process that is happening in her head is called ‘thinking’.
After Miss Sullivan came to Tuscumbia, the Christmas that followed was Helen’s most memorable. She remembers that her family and friends has put large amounts of gift everywhere, from her stocking to the table and the floors. Helen is amused that she is preparing surprises for her friends and family while they are also too. Helen’s favorite gift was from Ms. Sullivan, a canary whom Helen named Little Tim. Helen was overjoyed and described her sensation as a small cup that was filled with water spilling from the rim. Miss Sullivan taught her how to feed her pet and every morning gave the bird a bath. One day, Helen was ready to take her bird for a bath when she felt a large cat walk by her on the way to Little Tim’s cage. Helen felt around the cage but could not find him. She knew that she would not be able to pet or give the bird a bath again.
It was then decided that Helen and Ms. Sullivan should spend a vacation at Brewster, Cape Cod. This was where Helen first experienced the sea.
Helen put her bathing suit on and rushed into the water. Helen felt ecstasy, the movement of the water thrilled her. A moment after this, the tide changed, Helen’s foot slipped against a rock. She fell into her water and the waves pushed her back and forth. Helen was then pushed up back onto the land by the waves and rushed to Miss Sullivan. During that moment, she felt mixed emotions, first shock, then terror and lastly, fear. After Helen had recovered, she demanded to know who put salt into the water. After this, the two spent every winter they had in the north.
Once she had learned to read, Helen’s next goal was to learn how to speak. Her teacher and countless others believed it would be extremely hard for her to ever speak normally with friends and family. In 1890, Miss Sullivan took Helen to the Horace Mann School to begin studying under Miss Sarah Fuller. Helen learned by touching the position of Miss Fuller’s lips. This technique is called lip-reading. After continuous study with Ms. Fuller, Helen was able to speak.
In May 1888, Helen went to visit Boston in the north. She spent her time studying at the Perkins Institute for the Blind where she developed a friendship with her teacher, Mr. Anagnos. Helen quickly made friends with the other blind girls who were her age. Helen was happy that she could talk to similar children and speak to them in her own language.
In winter of 1892, Helen firsthand experienced plagiarism. Helen wrote a story she called the Frost King and sent it to her teacher at the Perkins Institute. Mr. Anagnos, Helen’s Perkins Institute teacher decided to publish the story. It was soon was found out that Helen’s story was very similar to another already published book, called ‘The Frost Fairies.’ Helen was read the original book by Margaret T. Canby and the words had been rooted in her mind so that she had unknowingly written plagiarized content. This made Helen very careful and paranoid of what she wrote because of the fear of plagiarism. When ever Helen would write letters to her family she would be terrified that what she wrote was not her own writing and she would read the lines over and over to check if it matched her books.
Helen attended the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in 1894, and began studying subjects including history, Latin, French, German, and arithmetic. In 1896, Helen enrolled in the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in Massachusetts. During her time at Cambridge, Helen studied to prepare for her college examinations to Radcliffe, Harvard’s “sister school” for women. Helen’s teacher in the Cambridge School, Mr. Gilman wanted to put Helen two years behind her class so she could have more time to prepare for the examinations for Radcliffe. Miss Sullivan disagreed with this however and there was an argument between this issue. However, Helen’s mother eventually removed her from the Cambridge School to finish her tutoring with a private teacher because of the argument. She successfully was entered for Radcliffe in 1899, and entered her college in the fall of 1900.
I learned from this story that perseverance can lead to meeting goals. Even though Helen Keller was born both deaf and blind, serious obstacles in the way of her life and education, she managed to attend and graduate one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. Which was a amazing feat for women at that time. Helen was always determined to follow her goals, as with her promise to get into Harvard. Though at that time, women’s entry into Harvard was a very low if not impossible goal. Helen though, deaf and blind, succeeded in her goal by successfully entering Radcliffe, a school similar to Harvard. Another theme is the patience and understanding of Anne Sullivan. Without the kind patience of Helen’s teacher, she would have never found her love for studying and learning new words. Overall, I learned that through patience, understanding and perseverance, people can achieve any goals they can dream of.
The Life of Helen Keller Who Spoke Up for the Disability
Helen Keller was a brilliant woman with very horrible disabilities. When Helen turned two she found out she had meningitis, and a brain infection. Because there wasn’t any cure in those days in time it led to her having blindness and deafness. Helen was known to be a wild and unruly child. She had a very hard time learning until Anne Sullivan came along. She helped Helen communicate by using a special kind of sign language. Anne would put her hand and Helen’s hand and sign to her so she was able to feel it since she was not able to see what she was signing. Helen eventually got the hang of it and was soon able to communicate well with other people who knew the same sign language she knew and she also learned to read a new type of writing called Braille. Helen was even able to read lips by touching someone else’s face. Helen also learned a few things she was not able to see, things like water and some other objects.
Later on, Anne and Helen moved to New York to go to school for the blind and then went to school for the deaf after that. When Helen was finished with school she attended college at Radcliffe College in the 1900’s. Helen was the first blind and deaf person to graduate from college with a college degree. After graduating college, Helen started to publish books. One of Helen’s well known book is called The Story of My Life that was originally published in 1903. Helen also got the opportunity to travel all around the world and started getting recognized in many different countries. Japan admired Helen so much that they gave her a special dog as a gift. Japan thought Helen was so amazing and kind for standing up to help more people like her. Helen was so thankful for Japan for being very supportive and for the gift especially since Helen loved dogs. Throughout her journeys Helen had traveled to Australia, Brazil, Myanmar, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, and Yugoslavia.
Helen wanted to travel all around the world to be able to speak up for the disability. She spoke up to get the disability into school because she understands how it feels being different from everybody else. She knows that it is hard not being in school and trying to keep up with the other children because of a disability that slows you down. But Helen believed even if you do have a disability you can still push through your limits and be successful in life. Helen thought everybody on the planet should be treated equally. She thought that you should treat others how you want to be treated because everybody has feelings and everybody’s feelings can get hurt. No matter how tough you are or how weak you are everybody has feelings. The way Helen thought was truly amazing. She always wanted to help others and not worry as much about herself. That is what made Helen who she was.
Everybody loved her and they also loved her speech. Her speech inspired many people around the world and was able to get disabled children in school and got many adults a good education. Helen helped so many disabled children and she changed their whole life. Helen also made so many people view disabled people different. Disabled people got more respect and kindness from others. People who didn’t have a disability never understood how it felt being behind the curtains. They never knew what it felt like being so different and unusual compared to everybody else. But Helen changed the way they thought. Helen let the world know how it really was and she changed the views on many people. But because of everything Helen has done, she was able to receive many awards, honorees, memorials, and many things that was in honor of Helen. She even received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 from president Lyndon B. Johnson. She also got an Academy Award for a documentary that talked about Helen’s life. Helen was even awarded an honorary degree from Harvard because it was a dream of Helen’s to attend school there but was a college only for men at the time. In conclusion, Helen has helped the world understand the difficulties of the disabled and helped so many of them get a good education.
Life Challenges in Three Days to See Essay
Academic Response Essay; “Three Days to Live”
Hellen Keller was just 19 months old when she became blind and deaf due to an illness. Yet, she did not let this hold her back. She made the best out of her situation and learned to communicate through sign language, voice lessons, and most effectively her writing. In 1902, Keller published her own autobiography, The Story of My Life, in addition she also published numerous overbooks and essays including the essay “Three Days to See”. In this essay Keller’s main ideas are based on her perspective on life and the value of life and our senses. The thought of how we should life everyday like it is our last and how most of us take life for granted and we are not grateful for what we have until we lose it. From my own experiences, I agree with Keller’s view about people not being grateful for what we have until we lose it, but I also disagree with the idea of how she believes that “Only the deaf appreciate hearing. Only the blind realize the blessing that lies in light” (page 1).
In her essay “Three Days to See” Keller writes about her views on life and what she would do if she had three days to see. On the first day she explains how she would like to see everyone who has made her life worth living for and her dogs. She also wants to take a walk in the woods and see a glorious sunset fallowed by being able to see in the artificial light. On the second day she will visit the past. The museums which she has visited before and touched with her hand but this time she will be able to see the exhibits. That evening she will attend the theater where she can see the actors moving so gracefully across the stage. Lastly, on the third and final day she embraces the present by going to New York City. Where she can see the city from below for the top of the empire state building and stroll down Fifth Avenue and be a window shopper. That evening as her time of seeing is coming to an end she will attend the theater again, this time to watch a hilarious funny play. Keller knows that as soon as her sight is taken away she will only be left with memories. The way she spends her three days being able to embrace every object within her range of vision and embracing the world of beauty around us really makes you think about how lucky we are to have all these senses.
One of Keller’s main ideas is not being grateful for what you have until you lose it. Based on my own personal experiences, I live by this motto. In September of 2017 my uncle and my papa were in a plane crash and both passed away. This made me take a step back and take a good look at all the people in my life and the memories I have made. Although it is not the same as losing any of your senses. Knowing that I will not be able to see their faces, hear their voices, feel their warm hugs, and smell their cologne is something I did not take for granted until I had realized what I lost. Another experience that made realize how grateful I was, was when I moved away from home for college. I am from Northern California, I live on the ocean surrounded by mountains and redwood trees. Now here I am living 2,000 miles away from home where everything is different. I am surrounded by strange people and it has all made me embrace the beautiful place I call home. The taste of the crisp air off the ocean, the image of the sun setting through the trees, and the faces of all those that I love knowing that all I have is memories and that I won’t see them for another 5 months. It’s not the same as not being able to see every day, but for me it is, and it made me realize not to take everything for granted.
One of my favorite lines in Keller’s essay reads, “Only the deaf appreciate hearing. Only the blind realizes the blessing that lies in light” (page 1). Now this may be my favorite line but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. Many of us that do have sight and hearing still appreciate those things. I appreciate the beauty our world has to offer through photography. For me it is being able to capture the sun rising over a barn or the detail in a new born lamb’s eyes or the texture of the redwood bark on a tree, or the emotion in someone’s face. Sight is a beautiful gift and I think that we as humans do take it for granted but that we appreciate the things that give us a reason to see the beauty within. Now hearing is slightly different, many of us don’t appreciate this but I believe we all have those moments where we do. Whether it is hearing your child say its first word or that one song that makes the whole world stop or even sitting on the porch drinking coffee in the morning listening to the birds sing. Everyone appreciates hearing at certain times but they do not realize it until it is gone.
Hellen Keller was a woman who understood life’s challenges and, in her essay, “Three Days to See” she explains her thoughts on how we should live everyday like it is our last. I agree with what Keller is saying in her essay about not being grateful for what we have until we lose it, but I also disagree with the idea of how she believes that only the deaf appreciate hearing, only the blind realize the blessing that lies in light. Overall, Keller’s essay is a very strong piece and I think that her message she is trying to make throughout the essay is clear to those who take a moment to understand life’s gifts.
Description of Helen Keller’s Life in the Miracle Worker
In 1962, William Gibson participated along with Arthur Penn in the film, The Miracle Worker, where Helen Keller, the main character, becomes deaf and blind due to an illness she contracted during her first years of life. The doctor that treated her couldn’t find a cure to her illness which led to the horrific outcome. Helen never felt the dramatic change because she was too young to remember what was actually hearing and seeing. However, a positive effect was that Helen’s brain rewired to adapt the other senses, smell, touch, and taste, to be dominant in her daily life, in other terms her brain plasticity was exceptional. She demonstrates to the viewers that she is extremely intelligent due to the fact that in order to understand and communicate with world she has to associate every aspect of it only with three senses. As shown by the film, in order to move around Helen had to touch her surroundings to feel safe or at least know where she was. Also, she would use certain movements to interact with her parents, such as caressing her cheek to call for her mother. This gesture was essential to her because Helen would only feel safe when her mother was around, she knew that the only person who truly satisfied her needs was her mother. Nonetheless, she uses her hands to recognize people, either by touching their faces or by grabbing their clothes. Usually, to calm her down her mother would offer her cake, Helen would grab the cake and smell it to assure that it was her treat.
Certainly, Helen needed medical treatment that would help her interact with people in a more educated way. Unfortunately, disabled people were misunderstood and underestimated. Helen didn’t have any helpful treatment before Mrs. Sullivan came; her parents were planning to put her in an asylum were she would receive the “proper” care. However, an ultimate mistake that the parents made was to please her no matter what she did. The parents never taught her how to act properly during meal time so she would go around and eat everything she pleased. If by any chance someone would try to stop her ways she would create huge tantrums to have things done her way; Mrs. Keller would give her a treat so she would relax. This how the Keller family raised their kid, most likely they felt pity for her and let her do whatever she wanted. In contrast, Ms. Sullivan did not believe in pity, she knew that Helen was as able as any other kid of her age. Ms. Sullivan’s first lesson was to make Helen understand that she wasn’t a queen, she had to follow orders too. As an example, the first time the family had a supper together Ms. Sullivan wouldn’t tolerate Helen’s behavior during such an important time. She got everyone out the dining room and forced Helen to comprehend that during supper she would have to sit down, eat with silverware, and especially fold her napkin! After several tries, Helen realized that the only way to stop the reinforcement Ms. Sullivan was giving her was to obey her rules.
As far as parenting styles, Helen’s parents were permissive in every aspect of the word. They would care for her but they had zero expectations from Helen, which led to her attitude towards everything. One of the very first parts were we can see how her parents react is when she was playing in the living room, while playing she decided to grab the baby cradle and flip it when the baby was inside. The first reaction of her dad was to discipline Helen to not do that again but her mom stopped him and told him that she is not able to understand what she just did. This shows perfectly how permissive her parents, especially her mother, were. In the other hand, Ms. Sullivan was more on the authoritative side, which is the perfect balance to educate a child. She decided that in order to change Helen’s mindset she would have to take her away from her comfort zone, her house. Firstly, Helen had massive tantrums because she wouldn’t recognize the place she was in, she felt insecure. She would caress her cheek to call for her mother because she was the only one who made her feel safe but all of her cries weren’t successful. Then, she let Ms. Sullivan teach her how to properly act on a daily basis.
As stated by Saul McLeod, operant conditioning is “intentional actions that have an effect on the surrounding environment.” Operant conditioning includes positive reinforcement, meaning that after a certain behavior there is a reward, and negative reinforcement, which means that after experiencing something awful you will change the way you respond to avoid the bad stimulus. By using this technique Ms. Sullivan taught Helen how to behave correctly and learned sign language. Nevertheless, this process was not easy because Ms. Sullivan had to find a way to make Helen understand that what she touched had a word (gesture) in sign language. This is what we call associative learning, “stat[ing] that the act of remembering… any past experience would also bring to the fore other events or experiences that had become related.” (Britannica) At first, Helen couldn’t understand what she was doing, she would feel the object, person or action and Ms. Sullivan would spell out the word for her to learn. Ms. Sullivan realized that after many tries Helen was only imitating her and not truly understanding her actions. But Ms. Sullivan didn’t give up, through positive and negative reinforcement she worked with Helen. In the movie, we see how Ms. Sullivan uses the cake as positive reinforcement. She would make Helen feel, teach her the word and whenever she would get it right she would receiver her piece of cake. Moreover, negative reinforcement is also seen when