Why, according to The Story of My Life, does Helen Keller love learning with Annie Sullivan?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Helen Keller, in The Story of My Life, does not hide her admiration for Annie Sullivan. She admits that "the light of love shone on me in that very hour" (ch 4) when Annie first arrives.  Helen is aware of Annie's great contribution to her development and heaps praise on her at every opportunity. She knows how difficult she made Annie's life when she first came to teach her but "in the still, dark world in which I lived there was no strong sentiment or tenderness" (ch 4). Fortunately, Annie is not deterred and persists with Helen until "that living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!" Helen loves to learn with Annie because, for the first time, she looks forward to the next day to continue "my soul's sudden awakening." (Ch 5)

The methods that Annie Sullivan use suit Helen's independent nature and Annie never dwells on Helen's frustrations or expression of them. This allows Helen to feel confident and she never shies away from challenges. Even when Helen has a bad experience, she still learns from it. Due to Helen's independence, she also appreciates the fact that "Miss Sullivan made it a practice to speak to me as she would speak to any hearing child" (ch 6) but using her hands. Miss Sullivan also engages Helen in the conversations of others by relaying information "verbatim" so that Helen is exposed to a broad vocabulary. Although this method takes years, it enriches Helen's understanding.   "Everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom had a part in my education." (Ch 7) 

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The Story of My Life

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