If I am the host of a talk show,what questions should I ask Helen Keller and the other characters from The Story of my Life ?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In The Story of My Life, Helen Keller gives an autobiographical account of her early years including her struggle to make sense of her "silent, aimless, dayless life" (ch 2) and her many accomplishments, some of which are impressive even for a sighted, speaking individual. 

Talk show hosts always engage their guests and often involve their audience by asking personal, controversial and even insulting questions as well as the usual introductory questions. It depends on the direction you would like your show to take but if you want to be somewhat contentious and invite heated discussion you could consider the following questions after having introduced your guests.

You could consider asking Helen, through Annie Sullivan:

1. Can you tell us about your relationship with your sister Mildred before you understood that family relationships require you to put others first instead of yourself?

2. Do you think that you will ever be able to repay Miss Sullivan for having turned your life into something real and meaningful?

Questions directed at Annie herself could include:

1. Do you feel that Helen has restricted your own self-development as everything you do is for Helen's benefit?

2. Can you tell us about the loss of your brother and whether that made it harder for you to be part of this family or easier? 

Questions directed to Helen's mother could include: 

1. We know that you were the first person to realize that Helen was blind. Please describe your feelings at that moment and in the following days as the family had to come to terms with Helen's condition.

2. Other than your discovery that Helen was blind and deaf, what would be the worst moment of your life? 

Questions for Helen's father could include?

1. Did you ever consider placing your daughter in a mental asylum? 

2. Did you ever doubt Miss Sullivan's abilities? Tell us about that! 

You could end your show by inviting questions from the audience. 

Sources:

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Helen: 1.In chapter 2 Helen says that when you are blind and deaf it is difficult to understand "the tender affections that grow out of endearing words and actions and companionship" after almost hurting her sister Mildred, trying to toss her out of a crib.

2. Helen is so grateful to Annie and she says in chapter 7, "the footsteps of my life are in hers" so the answer would probably be no at this stage in Helen's life.

Annie: 1. Annie loves her job and is genuine and sincere. By her own admittance, she learns with Helen, from The Story of my Life Annie would undoubtedly feel no resentment towards Helen. Her infinite patience and her involvement in Helen's classes also contribute to her own education. 

2. Annie would have to provide a personal answer for this as the book focuses on Helen's life. Annie would say that her own experiences, including her poor eyesight and the loss of her brother made it easier for her to accept and understand Helen. 

Helen's mother: 1. From Helen's account, her mother is "all that was bright and good in my long night" (chapter 2) and so her mother would most likely say it was a confusing time but that Helen remained the main focus and the family would do anything to help her. 

2. In chapter 11, Helen relates a time when she and Mildred were out walking with Annie and they got lost and the whole family was looking for them. Perhaps Helen's mother would consider that to be one of the worst moments. 

Helen's father: 1. Again, as this is Helen's account, you can presume an answer. The reader knows that Helen's father spent tireless hours and wrote letters in order to find a cure for his daughter. He would therefore be unlikely to admit to it. It was his letter to Dr. Chisolm (chapter 3) that led to the meeting with Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. 

2. Again, here you can speculate that such a young, partially sighted woman would have made Helen's father concerned as to whether she could rise to the challenge. He would no doubt admit to having his concerns but would also comment how he witnesses Annie's ways and ability to teach Helen to the point that Helen "learns from life itself" (ch 7). Any doubts he may have had would be soon expelled. 

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