Character sketch of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell.

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Helen Keller's parents sought help from Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who was famous for inventing the telephone.  He had family members who were deaf, so he had sympathy for Helen's plight.  In her autobiography, Helen described him as being full of "tenderness and sympathy" toward her.  When her parents took Helen to see him, she was a little girl.  She recalled sitting on his knee as he let her play with his watch.  Dr. Bell even "understood [her] signs, and [she] knew it and loved him at once."  Dr. Bell was patient and understanding with Helen in a time when not everyone was.

Helen's parents did not know what to do about their daughter.  They wanted her to be educated and helped.  Dr. Bell suggested that they contact Mr. Anagnos of the Perkins Institution, which was a Boston school for the blind.  It was through Mr. Anagnos that Helen's teacher, Annie Sullivan, came to help Helen learn to communicate.  Helen noted that at the time of their visit to Dr. Bell, she could not have "dream[ed] that that interview would be the door through which [she] should pass from darkness into light, from isolation to friendship, companionship, knowledge, love."   

When Helen was older, Dr. Bell showed her around the World's Fair. She also visited his home on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.  He was a dear friend to Helen.  He was a man who "[made] every subject he touche[d] interesting."  Though he was an important and famous person, he made time for Helen and was sympathetic to her.  This showed that he was patient and understanding, as well as caring.  He was a loyal friend.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who patented the first telephone, was in many ways Helen's savior (along with Anne Sullivan). Helen's father consulted with Alexander Graham Bell in Washington. At this meeting, Helen, then a young child, was immediately struck by the doctor's kindness and love of children. He was a great doctor and famous inventor, but he allowed Helen to play with his watch and held her on his knee. He also understood her signs, and he advised her father to write to Mr. Anagnos, then head of the Perkins Institution in Boston, a school for blind people. This is the means by which Anne Sullivan came to teach Helen and to foster her learning. In 1893, Helen traveled to the World's Fair and went around the exhibits with Dr. Graham Bell. She also spent time with him in Washington and in his lab on Cape Breton Island, where he explained scientific experiments to her in interesting terms. In her narrative, he emerges as a kind man who is brilliant and yet still able to connect with children. 

dobiemcmcmahon | Student

Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was destined to be a major influence in the life of Helen Keller. His understanding of hearing loss and speech was born within his being at an early age as he strove to understand and to be of assistance to his mother who was losing her hearing. His compassion for Helen Keller was a natural extension of his compassion for his mother. Helen Keller was in a world of loneliness, misunderstanding and fear. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was a bright light in this dark world. He understood the complexities of her condition and strove to cross those barriers that were making her life so very difficult. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was instrumental in the Keller's procuring a life long teacher and friend for Helen Keller. Annie Sullivan, Helen's teacher opened up a world to Helen that she perhaps may never have been to obtain otherwise. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell while developing inventions that would forever influence the world, was most content with helping those with hearing loss.

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The Story of My Life

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