Mr. Anagnos was the director of the Perkins Institution. He sent Anne Sullivan to the Kellers’ home. He and Keller became friends, and he had her sit on his knee when she visited the Institution. When Keller wrote ‘‘The Frost King,’’ she sent it to him for his birthday, but because Mr. Anagnos came to believe that she intentionally plagiarized it, the friendship was forever ruined.
Dr. Alexander Graham Bell
Dr. Alexander Graham Bell first met Keller when she was six years old and her parents brought her to him for advice on how to teach her. Dr. Bell suggested that they contact the Perkins Institution for the Blind, which they did. Dr. Bell remained a friend to Keller and Anne Sullivan and accompanied them on a trip to the World’s Fair.
As a child, Keller sensed Bell’s tender disposition, as she notes in chapter three, ‘‘Child as I was, I at once felt the tenderness and sympathy which endeared Dr. Bell to so many hearts, as his wonderful achievements enlist their admiration.’’ The Story of My Life is dedicated to him.
One of the ‘‘many men of genius’’ Keller knew, Bishop Brooks knew Keller from her childhood. He spoke beautifully to her throughout her life of religion, God, and spiritual matters, and he emphasized no particular religion as much as the importance of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of humankind. Keller...
(The entire section is 1658 words.)
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Themes and Characters
In one sense, Keller is really the only character in The Story of My Life. The other people are secondary to her story except as their actions affect her life. Anne Sullivan, as the person who makes it possible for Helen to communicate with other people and who serves as the primary mediator between Helen and the world, is the only other character that develops somewhat in the course of the narrative. Yet even she remains shadowy.
Keller interests people, because she overcame great handicaps, and her fight is both the focus and theme of her autobiography. Although loosely organized and episodic in structure, the book follows Helen's gradual growth from a helpless blind and deaf girl to an intellectually independent woman, and it emphasizes her constant striving to lead as normal a life as possible. The first chapters deal with Helen's life before the arrival of Sullivan and show how the absence of language skills imprisons her alert mind. Later chapters describe how she explores the world in the months after she acquires language. They also illustrate how capable she is of participating in all the activities of other girls her age. Keller continually focuses on her abilities, not her disabilities, so that the reader shares her discoveries with joy rather than pity.
Helen's excitement about learning is one of her most appealing characteristics. Coming to language later and with more difficulty than most people sharpens her conscious...
(The entire section is 330 words.)