Do you agree with Helen Keller when she equates knowledge  with  happiness  rather  than  power, in terms of her autobiography The Story of My Life? 

1 Answer | Add Yours

durbanville's profile pic

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

Posted on

Helen Keller, as revealed in her autobiography The Story of My Life, recognizes that knowledge presents her with many opportunities. She goes from a nineteen month inquisitive toddler into an unfamiliar world that "closed my eyes and ears and plunged me into the unconsciousness of a new-born baby."(ch 1) She  does have vague recollections "which the darkness that followed could not wholly blot out."

When Annie Sullivan arrives, Helen knows it signifies something important and it changes her world forever. Her educator wastes no time and before long Helen is introduced to the concept of words, the most famous being "W-A-T-E-R" which "meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!" (ch 4)This reveals Helen's attitude, even from a young age, to education and its value and the absolute satisfaction that comes from it.

Helen is so inspired by the learning process that "everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom had a part in my education" (ch 7)to the point that Helen learns "from life itself." All the joy Helen feels, she attributes to Miss Sullivan and "the best of me belongs to her—there is not a talent, or an aspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch."(ch 7)

The limiting properties of the manual alphabet become more apparent to Helen as her life proceeds creating "a sense of restraint, of narrowness." Hence, learning to speak is very important and Helen recalls "my first connected sentence, 'It is warm.'" (ch 13)There is little to stop Helen now and "my soul, conscious of new strength, came out of bondage, and was reaching through those broken symbols of speech to all knowledge and all faith." She even finds joy in "practice, practice, practice." (ch 13)

Helen Keller is clearly empowered by her increasing knowledge and the result of this is a contentment and happiness. Those who equate knowledge with power are sometimes people who usurp that knowledge and take advantage of others for their own ends. Helen's is a very personal battle, benefiting her. This is why she decided to write her autobiography because she understands the "power" of knowledge in bringing satisfaction and in bridging and realising what are otherwise unobtainable goals.  

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,908 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question