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In The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, the image of Helen's parents is most certainly one which reveals patient, dedicated, tireless and committed parents. As the story is autobiographical and told from Helen's perspective, the reader only glimpses the real impact of Helen's debilitating illness on the other members of her family. At only nineteen months old, Helen is left blind and deaf and spends the next several years in a "silent, aimless, dayless" world. It is obvious that she struggles to communicate and her parents are her refuge. Helen credits her mother as being responsible for "all that was bright and good in my long night" (chapter 2) and Helen knows that her father is "most loving and indulgent." Even after Mildred, Helen's baby sister is born and Helen feels resentment, her parents protect her. Helen's mother prevents a tragedy when she stops Helen from tipping Mildred out of the cot that Helen feels is reserved for her beloved doll, Nancy and not for "an intruder."
Helen's mother is encouraged by the story of Laura Brightman, a blind and deaf girl who, despite her handicap, was successfully educated and Helen's parents continue their quest to find a way to help Helen. It is a visit to Baltimore which will mark the start of Helen's miraculous transformation. Without her parents' dedication, this would never have taken place and therefore, anyone reading this autobiography will certainly recognize that Helen's parents are indeed role models. They remind other parents never to give up and the extraordinary lengths they go to in order to secure Helen an education are testament to their immeasurable capacity for love, understanding and acceptance. They teach parents that their best will always be good enough but that striving to always provide the best can be challenging but enormously rewarding.
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