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From The Story of My Life, please provide a character sketch of Helen Keller's father. 

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user5643991 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 29, 2013 at 3:23 PM via web

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From The Story of My Life, please provide a character sketch of Helen Keller's father. 

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 29, 2013 at 4:35 PM (Answer #1)

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Helen Keller has a very supportive family, as indicated in The Story of My Life. Her parents will go to whatever lengths possible to ensure that she gets the most out of her "dayless life."(ch 2) Unfortunately, Helen was left blind and deaf after a debilitating illness at the age of only nineteen months. Her parents are often "grieved and perplexed"(ch 3 ) when her temper tantrums become so regular, they occur "almost hourly"(ch 3) and Helen takes refuge in the garden "the paradise of my childhood."(ch 1) Helen's father loves his garden and has some of the best watermelons in the country.

Helen's most vivid memory of her "loving and indulgent "(ch 2) father occurs shortly after they move house. She finds him with a sheet of paper in his hand - he is a newspaper editor- but Helen cannot grasp the purpose of holding this paper. She is confused but, as bright as she is, she mimics his actions and is somewhat upset when "even wearing his spectacles, thinking they might help solve the mystery"(ch 2) does not allow her a better understanding. Only years later will Helen understand what a newspaper editor does. 

It is clear that, despite the difficulties in communicating with Helen, every possible step is taken, resulting in the arrival of Miss Sullivan. Helen's father, after she has mastered the manual alphabet even "tells" her stories by spelling "clumsily" into her hand. He is apparently a good host and an excellent hunter. Most of all, he is devoted to his daughter. 

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