In The Story of My Life, Helen Keller goes to great lengths to emphasize the life-changing effect her teacher, Miss Sullivan, had on her. Although her parents loved her very much, and her mother especially showed tenderness and affection toward her, neither parent had the skills needed to help Helen communicate. Without a way to express herself, Helen grew increasingly frustrated and isolated. She couldn't learn or grow.
It was only after Miss Sullivan was able to teach her a way to communicate through writing in her hand that Helen could develop emotionally and intellectually. Helen characterizes Miss Sullivan's coming as a miracle and compares it to the Israelites escaping from bondage in Egypt. For Helen, the coming of Miss Sullivan was no less important than the parting of the Red Sea to the ancient Jewish people fleeing for their lives.
Helen also emphasizes how loving Miss Sullivan was to her and the way Miss Sullivan took her outside in nature to learn. Miss Sullivan made schooling enjoyable and relevant to Helen. Through Miss Sullivan, Helen grasped that nothing was impossible, even for a person with multiple disabilities.
For Helen Keller, education is the key to everything. In The Story of My Life she tells of the struggle to "learn from life itself"(ch 7) as she takes every opportunity to make the best of her "silent, aimless, dayless life."(ch 2) Once her teacher, Annie Sullivan, arrives, Helen can appreciate "the immeasurable contrasts" and describes the day that Miss Sullivan arrives as " The most important day I remember in all my life."(ch 4)
Learning becomes the tool that allows Helen to experience her "soul's sudden awakening"(ch 5) and it is Miss Sullivan's encouragement to "Think"(ch 6) which allows Helen to make connections with abstract concepts like love. Helen appreciates Miss Sullivan's teaching methods as then "everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom had a part in my education"(ch 7) and Helen never misses an opportunity and is appreciative of Annie's efforts to the point that "I scarcely think of myself apart from her."(ch 7)
It is very difficult but very important to Helen to learn to speak and it is only because of Annie's "untiring perseverance and devotion"(ch 13) that it becomes a reality. Helen is appreciative of the impact of many influential people on her progress and she will never underestimate her teacher as "there was only one hand that could turn drudgery into pleasure."(ch 18)