The Story of My Life Questions and Answers
by Helen Keller

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How is Helen Keller's childhood house described in The Story of My Life?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Story of My Life includes a picture of Keller's family home, Ivy Green. It is a one-level clapboard house with a small covered front porch. It has three shuttered windows visible in front and three chimneys. It is an idyllic cottage on a flat, tree-studded lot. Although this does not show in the picture, Keller describes it as obscured by flora, writing

It was completely covered with vines, climbing roses and honeysuckles. From the garden it looked like an arbour. The little porch was hidden from view by a screen of yellow roses and Southern smilax. It was the favourite haunt of humming-birds and bees.

Helen's migration to a larger house at age five let her roam more rooms and gave her the opportunity to lock her mother in a pantry and Miss Sullivan, when she first arrived, in her room. Later, both Helen and Miss Sullivan enjoyed the orchards near the house.

Despite the anger and frustration caused to Helen by the illness that left her blind and deaf, she does describe a prosperous and pleasant Southern home of the post-Civil War period, where she and the young black girl Martha Washington sat on the veranda steps and also enjoyed participating in Christmas preparations.

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Dorothea Tolbert eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Helen was very young, she lived with her parents in a small house on the Keller property.  This little house was called "Ivy Green."  The name came from the ivy which grew on the house and on everything near it.  It was common in the South to have a small house on the property.  Helen's father built it after the Civil War.  A lush garden was beside the house.  The house itself was small and contained two rooms.  One room was large and one was smaller.  The main room was the large one, and the smaller one was a sleeping quarters for a servant.  The little house had a porch, which was covered in flowers and climbing vines.  Helen described her first home:

It was completely covered with vines, climbing roses and honeysuckles.  From the garden it looked like an arbour.  The little porch was hidden from view by a screen of yellow roses and Southern smilax.

When Helen was five, the family moved into a new house that was much larger.   It had an upstairs and many rooms, including a sitting room with a hearth.  The new house also had a large porch, which honeysuckle grew on.

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