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What kind of child and student was Helen Keller, as revealed in The Story of My Life?

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nithya_ | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 24, 2013 at 9:26 AM via web

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What kind of child and student was Helen Keller, as revealed in The Story of My Life?

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

Posted September 24, 2013 at 1:30 PM (Answer #1)

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The Story of My Life reveals that Helen Keller is a very positive person despite her challenges. Having been left blind and deaf after an illness when she was a baby, she takes every possible opportunity to learn whether it is from a pleasing experience or a trying or traumatic one. She learns "from life itself."(ch 7)

Although a stubborn child prone to temper tantrums "sometimes hourly," rendering her parents "grieved and perplexed,"(ch 3) Helen is a willing learner and after the arrival of Annie Sullivan, who "set my spirit free"(ch 1)  Helen learns the value of words as Annie spells them into her hand. "W-A-T-E-R" opens up the world to Helen and "for the first time (she) longed for a new day to come."(ch 4)

Helen is not a person who gives up easily and she perseveres through the most difficult events. The "Frost King" incident, when she inadvertently uses someone else's story, thinking she has made it up herself, is testament to her ability to persevere and continue improving her skills. Helen is a grateful student, aware that without the help of so many others, especially Annie, she would not be able to achieve. Helen is motivated by challenges, even when preparing for entrance to Radcliffe College and "if they unintentionally placed obstacles in my way, I have the consolation of knowing that I overcame them all."(ch 19)

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