The Story of My Life by Helen Keller recounts many of the stories from Helen's childhood until she was twenty-two years old. To ensure that others can learn from her experiences she includes many of the challenges as well as the achievements as she strives to "learn from life itself."(ch 7) Having been left blind and deaf after an illness as a baby, there is a "veil that clings about my childhood"(ch 1) and Helen shares her experiences and reveals her indomitable spirit.
One of the most significant events for Helen, and which has been a long term goal, is when she learns to speak, not relying solely on the manual alphabet which she has recognized as being inadequate, causing her to feel " a sense of restraint, of narrowness."(ch 13) After learning of Ragnhild Kaata, a deaf girl who learnt to speak, Helen is determined to do the same and she perseveres and finds great pleasure in being able to call her sister Mildred or the dogs. However, even then, and making sure she "laboured night and day," Helen knows her pronunciation is poor and only her "intimate friends" can understand her. She is frequently despondent but she fills her days with "practice, practice, practice." (ch 13) Her efforts are "not for the sake of talking, but determined to improve to the last minute."
This is a huge achievement for Helen and she goes on to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf. Although it is Helen's ambition to "speak like other people"(ch 17) which she is never able to do, it does encourage her to dedicate herself to her other studies and to never give up.