The Story of My Life Questions and Answers
by Helen Keller

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Give character sketches of characters in chapter 18.  

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 18, Helen Keller goes to the Cambridge School so that she can be prepared to attend Radcliffe College, which was at that time the women's counterpart to Harvard, which only admitted men.

The two people she writes most about are her German teacher, Frau Gröte, and Mr. Gilman, the principal. Both are portrayed as kindhearted people who go out of their way to try to be helpful to Keller. They are the only teachers in the school who learn finger writing in order to help her succeed.

Miss Sullivan also appears as an important character in this chapter. She comes with Helen to the school and is tireless in helping her. She attends classes with her and finger writes the lectures into Helen's hand. She also reads notes and books that are unavailable to Helen in raised print. Helen says,

The tedium of that work is hard to conceive.

Helen shows that she is appreciative of the extra efforts these three individuals made for her.

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Dorothea Tolbert eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Chapter Eighteen of The Story of My Life is about Helen's first year at the Cambridge School for Young Ladies.  Helen attended the school to prepare for college.  She met many new people at the school, including two teachers:

Frau Gröte was Helen's German teacher at the school.  Determined to help Helen as much as possible, she "learned the finger alphabet."  Despite this great amount of effort on the part of Frau Gröte, Helen found her finger spelling to be "slow and inadequate."  Helen still found her teacher to be kind and she recognized the "the goodness of her heart [as] she laboriously spelled out her instructions... in special lessons."  

Mr. Gilman was the principal of the school.  He was the only other person there to learn how to use the finger alphabet in order to assist Helen.  He also "instructed [her] part of the year in English literature."  He allowed Helen's sister, Mildred, to enter the school.  He also patiently finger spelled all the content on Helen's exams into her palm for many hours.

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