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Describe Helen Keller's Family and relatives, in terms of her autobiography, The Story...

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shiv1234 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 20, 2013 at 7:11 AM via web

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Describe Helen Keller's Family and relatives, in terms of her autobiography, The Story of My Life.  

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

Posted June 20, 2013 at 9:09 AM (Answer #1)

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Helen Keller treasured her family and friends as they supported her, taught and mentored her and provided her link to the outside world, a world that otherwise was "silent, aimless, dayless." (Ch 2)

Members of Helen's family doubt whether Helen has the potential to be taught but her mother knows of a successful deaf and blind girl which provides her "ray of hope."(Ch 1) Helen's parents take her to Dr Alexander Graham Bell in their efforts to help her, themselves " deeply grieved and perplexed. "(Ch 3)  and he becomes a lifelong friend and mentor. The meeting with him is to be "the door through which I should pass from darkness into light." (Ch3)Shortly after, the family is introduced to Ann Sullivan.

Helen's father is "most loving and indulgent, devoted to his home, seldom leaving us, except in the hunting season " (Ch2) and apparently a gracious host . He prides himself on his vegetable garden and goes to great pains to "show" Helen around it, happy to reveal his "delight in whatever pleased me." Helen loves his story-telling once he can spell into her hands but unfortunately he dies quite suddenly when she is about 16. It is her "first great sorrow."

When describing her mother, Helen recognizes the role she plays in her success. Her mother is "so near to me that it almost seems indelicate to speak of her," always allowing Helen some independence and, even when Helen does the most spiteful and hurtful things her mother accepts them, knowing that it is Helen's efforts to communicate that bring on such nastiness. It is "her loving wisdom" that brings "all that was bright and good in my long night" (Ch 2)

There are two older step-brothers in Helen's life and then her baby sister Mildred whom Helen sees as a rival for her mother's affections and time to the point that she spitefully tries to hurt her by pushing her out of a cradle. After this event though Helen and Mildred spend a lot of time together and grow "into each other's hearts."

Ann Sullivan is the one to "set my spirit free"and she guides and directs Helen in everything, even into college and adulthood. She is partially sighted herself. Her death in 1936 is a huge loss to Helen.

There are several significant people in Helen's life, all playing a part in her complete development.

 

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