helen keller

Topics: Helen Keller, Alexander Graham Bell, Anne Sullivan Macy Pages: 6 (1883 words) Published: November 6, 2013
Helen Keller

Summary of “The Story of My Life”
The Story of My Life shows, Helen Keller’s life is neither a miracle nor a joke. It is a tremendous achievement. The most surprising thing about Helen Keller's autobiography is how literate she is. The most enjoyable aspect of The Story of My Life is her passion for books. She discusses her favorite classics which she read in English, Greek, Latin, French and German. She mentioned that it was difficult to get books in Braille, and when she was required by a course to read a certain work that was not yet published in Braille, Anne Sullivan would have to spell out the book in the palm of Helen's hand so that she could keep up with her class. When Helen did get hold of a Braille book, she devoured it. What a joy it must have been to read to herself, possibly 50 times faster than Anne could communicate the words to her through finger signing. Helen also mentions her other "best friend," the typewriter, which allowed her to write her school papers and later her book. Another enjoyable aspect of The Story of My Life is that if you ever feel sorry for yourself for what you don't have or what you are currently struggling with, your deficiencies and struggles may suddenly seem minor in comparison to Helen's. What makes The Story of My Life even more fascinating is that this linguistic objectivity mirrors the objectivity of Keller’s journey from being a near-savage to becoming one of humanity’s greatest representatives.

Keller’s narrative powers are as dramatic and as highly developed as her intellectual faculties, and one of the most moving scenes in the book (moving at once in an existential sense and in an immediate life-and-death sense) is the scene when she becomes trapped in a cherry tree during a thunderstorm. Keller and Sullivan had been out on a long walk, and they stopped to climb a tree to relax before heading home, and as the day was so pleasant, Sullivan decided to go home to bring back a picnic basket so that they could prolong their enjoyment. A short time after leaving Keller in the tree, however, a violent and unexpected storm moved in. Keller could feel a palpable shift in the atmosphere immediately, and when the storm arrived full force, her terror of aloneness in the face of possible annihilation rose to a histrionic pitch.

Keller’s full power comes most dramatically alive when describing the scene at the well, of course, because she weaves together almost every aspect of her existential experience on earth into a tour-de-force of self-discovery, the depths of the scene’s sensual and intellectual self-revelation prefiguring (and perhaps even matching) Proust’s celebrated “madeleine” scene in In Search of Lost Time. I n the second part of the book, we can read the letters written by Helen to her beloved ones during 1887-1901. It was quite interesting and informative with wonder and curiosity. Through these letters, she opened her mind, saw, felt and touched the worlds of wonders. They are exercises which have trained her to write. The book “Story of My Life” is a story of courage and determination and a work of inspirational literature.


First of all, I think it is so amazing that there is such a thing as autobiographies and that certain famous or influential people have decided to write them. Helen Keller is such an inspirational person in history and it's so wonderful that we have a record of her journey with this book. I like biographies too, but there's just something more "moving" about an autobiography.

What I really loved about this book was Helen's descriptions of her childhood. Before her teacher, Anne Sullivan (as inspirational a figure as Helen herself) came into her life, Helen was literally lost in the darkness. She hated herself, the world and everyone around her. In other words, she felt incredibly sorry for herself...which is actually...
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