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... [continues]
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