1. Give a brief character sketch of Arthur H. Keller. 2. What turned Helen into an isolated and tormented child? 3. Miss Sullivan's method of teaching Helen was unique. Elaborate. 4. How was Ivy Green Helen's childhood paradise?

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Arthur Keller, Helen's father, was a former captain in the Confederate army. He was married to a woman, his second wife, who was ten years younger than he was. Helen describes him as loving and as very dedicated to the family. He rarely left his family, save for during hunting season. Helen Keller became isolated and tormented when she was struck, as a young child, by a disease that left her blind and deaf. She was plunged into darkness and silence. Miss Sullivan taught Helen by giving her an object, such as a doll, and then spelling the word for "doll" into Helen's hand. Sullivan also took Helen into the outdoors to teach her words for objects Helen encountered outside. Ivy Green, the Keller household, was surrounded by trees and fences that were covered with ivy. Keller referred to the garden surrounding the house as her paradise, and she went into the garden to smell the flowers and feel the box hedges. She writes, "What joy it was to lose myself in that garden of flowers, to wander happily from spot to spot, until, coming suddenly upon a beautiful vine, I recognized it by its leaves and blossoms." The garden was a safe and familiar spot where she could use her sense of touch and smell to explore.

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1.  Arthur H. Keller was Helen's father.  He had served as a Confederate Army captain during the Civil War.  He later was a newspaper editor.  His first wife died, and Kate Keller, Helen's mother, was his second wife.  He enjoyed hunting and gardening.  He also liked spending time with his dogs.  Helen described her father as "most loving and indulgent, devoted to his home, seldom leaving [them], except in the hunting season" (The Story of My Life, Chapter II).

2.  Helen became isolated and tormented due to her loss of hearing and sight.  She could not effectively communicate with those around her, which led to feelings of isolation.  She was tormented because of her extreme frustration at being different.

3.  Miss Sullivan did not have prior experience working with a child who was deaf and blind, but she did study on the topic.  She taught Helen by spelling letters into her palm, associating the words with objects.  She did this with the words "mug," "doll," and "water."  Helen did not make the connection at first.  Miss Sullivan was determined and eventually her methods worked.

4.  "Ivy Green" was the small house where Helen was born, and where she lived with her parents until she became ill.  This house was covered in English ivy and flowers.  Helen was drawn to nature, and she loved to "hide [her] hot face in the cool leaves and grass" (The Story of My Life, Chapter I).

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