Homework Help

What is the theme of The Story of My Life by Helen Keller?

user profile pic

sensharma6 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 11, 2013 at 6:03 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the theme of The Story of My Life by Helen Keller?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

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

Posted August 12, 2013 at 12:18 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller is an autobiographical account of the first twenty two years of Helen's life. It is not a novel as a novel is a work of fiction, even if sometimes based on a true story. The events that Helen Keller relates all took place before her illness when, much like any infant, "I came, I saw, I conquered" (Ch 1), and after it when she struggles to communicate to the point that she has temper tantrums "daily, sometimes hourly" (ch 3). Eventually Annie Sullivan arrives who will "set my spirit free." (ch 1)

Helen Keller tells this story whilst at Radcliffe College and because she feels inspired to help others who may feel that their problems are insurmountable and cannot be overcome. Helen remembers when she first learned the meaning of words, starting with "W-A-T-E-R" and after that "there were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away." (Ch 4)

The very fact that Helen Keller attends college is testament to her perseverance and determination, the main themes of The Story of My Life. Getting admitted to college creates its own set of problems as Helen does not want to attend as a blind-deaf person but as a capable student; hence, her admittance to Radcliffe which could hardly cater for her disability was fraught with difficulties but  Helen "overcame them all." (Ch 19)

Expanding her knowledge and enriching her education are key to Helen Keller and, even as a young child, she explores the garden where she feels at least a certain degree of independence. She takes every new experience and learns something from it to the point that she "learns from life itself." (Ch 7) Her experiences with nature and the elements introduce her to fears and loneliness - such as she is stuck in a tree during a thunder storm - but they also enhance her overall understanding of life, ensuring that she will never give up. 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes