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Helen Keller's Journey for Life

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Helen Keller's Journey for Life

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  • November 2008
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Helen Keller describes her most important day as the day she met Anne Mansfield Sullivan, her tutor. Keller states that this day connects two lives and that there is a big difference, “I am filled with wonder when I consider the immeasurable contrast between the lives which it connects”. Keller lived the first few years of her life with no perception of the world around her, surrounded by darkness and without sound. With, Sullivan’s help, she discovers what it means to live. Keller, blind and deaf from eighteen months old, describes her life as being in a dense fog: Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? Keller needed to find a light to guide her, and on that day, “the light of love shone on [her] in that very hour”. Anne Sullivan arrives at the Keller home and comes to the young Helen as more than a teacher; she comes as a friend. Sullivan brings with her a way for Keller to converse with the world, a sort of “finger play” as Keller describes it. “I did not know that I was spelling a word or even that words existed; I was simply making my fingers go in monkeylike imitation”. Using sign language gives Keller a sense of accomplishment with her life and she can communicate with the world at last. One day, Sullivan brings Keller outside and shows her water, placing Keller’s hand under the spout and creates the hand sign for water: [Keller] knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over [her] hand. The living word awakened [her] soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set if free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away. Helen Keller now understood what it meant to live. Following this, they reentered the house and Keller walked over to the pieces of doll that she had...