The Story of My Life by Helen Keller has been criticised by some for its style of language. Helen Keller uses poetic and sometimes elaborate words to express her feelings. As she points out, real, visual imagery escapes her so she can only create an atmosphere through the written word. Right from the beginning, the reader can begin to appreciate the depth of emptiness as "the shadows of the prison-house"(ch 1) retain some of Helen's memories that she is unable to recall. The comparison to a "prison house" leaves the reader in no doubt as to the hopeless situation that faced Helen and her family.
Other examples that reveal Helen's feelings of desperation and loneliness include "plunged me into the unconsciousness of a new-born baby" (ch 1) as the effects of her illness are revealed. There can be no disputing the intensity of these words and this diction ensures impact. Helen also talks of "the valley of twofold solitude."(ch 2) This powerful use of imagery may remind the reader of the "valley of death" referred to in The Lord is My Shepherd. Helen wants the reader to understand the depth of emptiness when human relationships and their value escape you. In this instance, Helen has just tried to overturn the crib holding her baby sister; disaster avoided by the intervention of Helen's loving mother.
Much of Helen's life story has inspiring events but they do still contain evidence that her life, especially before Anne Sullivan comes, had "barren places between my mind and the minds of others. "(ch 11)Helen talks of coming out "of bondage."(ch 13)She also recalls her story "The Frost King" and how difficult it is to escape from her restricted life to the point that "No child ever drank deeper of the cup of bitterness than I did."(ch 14) It is Miss Sullivan and the subsequent events that release Helen from her "silent, aimless, dayless life."(ch 2)