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In terms of The Story of My Life, do you think that Helen Keller had a happy childhood?...

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iluaman | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 8, 2013 at 11:49 AM via web

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In terms of The Story of My Life, do you think that Helen Keller had a happy childhood? Write your view.

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

Posted September 10, 2013 at 6:42 AM (Answer #1)

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The Story of My Life is an autobiographical account of the first twenty-two years of Helen Keller's life. She attempts to give honest accounts of the highs and lows of her childhood and her battle during the "silent, aimless dayless life"(ch 2) she endured after an illness at age nineteen months left her blind and deaf. Keller admits that "A few impressions stand out vividly from the first years of my life; but 'the shadows of the prison-house are on the rest.'" She cannot recall all the events but does lift the "golden mist" (ch 1) that surrounds her early life.

Helen Keller's childhood is certainly painted as being "happy" from her own perspective. She talks of "the paradise of my childhood" (ch 2) which is the garden where she found great solace. As an optimist and always looking to learn from every situation - "from life itself (ch 7) - even the difficult situations, such as her experience during a thunderstorm, in the ocean and, particularly, "The Frost King" all contribute to her character development even though, "many incidents of vital importance in my early education have been forgotten."(ch 1)

This, in itself, supports the view that Keller indeed had a happy childhood although, no doubt, during her childhood when her parents were "grieved and perplexed"(ch 3) and challenges were almost insurmountable, she survived and went on to overcome the next hurdle "in the excitement of great discoveries."(ch 1) .  

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