An older person or mentor is often very important in shaping the lives of gifted people by providing guidance and encouragement. To what extent was this true of Helen?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Helen Keller's life changed when Miss Sullivan entered her life. Miss Sullivan became her mentor, teacher, friend, and companion. Miss Sullivan had an incredible impact on Helen's life. In her autobiography, Helen described how Miss Sullivan changed her life:

Gradually I got used to the silence and darkness that surrounded me and forgot that it had ever been different, until she came–my teacher–who was to set my spirit free (The Story of My Life, Chapter I).

Miss Sullivan taught Helen how to communicate using the manual alphabet. After Helen learned to communicate, her life was transformed. Miss Sullivan continued to help and guide Helen. The teacher assisted Helen when she went to school by reading books and spelling their content into her pupil's palm. Miss Sullivan did the same thing with the lectures given by Helen's teachers and professors. With Miss Sullivan's help, Helen finished school and also went to college. Miss Sullivan helped to guide Helen in making decisions about education.

In addition to this, Miss Sullivan encouraged Helen. She encouraged her to learn all that she could and to experience life. Miss Sullivan traveled to many places with Helen. Together they went on many adventures, such as exploring the World's Fair and sailing in Nova Scotia. Miss Sullivan wished for Helen to live a full life.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial