In The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, Helen reveals details of some of the most memorable events in the first twenty two years of her life having been left blind and deaf after an illness when she was nineteen months old. She lifts "the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist." (Ch 1) Many of her stories show a real fighting spirit as she struggles to understand her "silent, dayless life." (ch 2)Even from a young age, she learns "from life itself" (ch 7) which allows her to take each experience and learn from it rather than dwell on it. She takes solace in the garden "the paradise of my childhood" (ch 1) where she often goes after a temper tantrum. She admits that, due to her frustrations, her tantrums become so frequent that they "occur daily, sometimes hourly." (ch 3)
In providing a character sketch of Helen Keller's fight to succeed, an event that portrays this is the unfortunate "Frost King" incident. Helen sends her friend from The Perkins' Institute, Mr Anagnos, a story she has written. it is a gift for his birthday. Although Helen never recalls it, a similar story must have been read to her previously to the extent that her apparent "own" story is a plagiarised version of it. This has a profound effect on Helen and, as she remembers, "the winter of 1892 was darkened by the one cloud in my childhood's bright sky."(ch 14)
Helen is devastated, embarrassed, confused and disillusioned and admits that "No child ever drank deeper of cup of bitterness." (Ch 14) She is only eleven and receives the support of her family although she loses Mr Anagnos' trust and friendship. This has such a devastating effect on her that she doubts whether, had she been older, she could have coped. She believes "it would have broken my spirit beyond repairing."(ch 14)
Despite receiving assurances from the author of the original story ,Helen is "tortured by the fear that what I write is not my own" and will remain cautious and aware every time she writes in the future. The very fact that she does go on to write and lecture are testament to her indomitable spirit. The fact that she could have so easily have excluded this incident from The Story of My Life" is further evidence of her purpose as she recognizes its contribution to her "life and education."