How is Helen's first meeting with Alexander Graham Bell described in The Story of my Life? How did Bell help Helen to be educated?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Helen Keller loved Alexander Graham Bell from the moment she met him.  He recommended the Perkins Institute, who found Anne Sullivan to teach Helen Keller.

Helen Keller’s biography The Story of My Life is dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell.  This demonstrates his importance in her life.  Her dedication also references the telephone, and its impact on the hearing population.

Helen Keller’s parents took her to Dr. Bell when she was six years old.  They were seeking advice on schools and teachers of the blind and deaf, because Helen had lost both senses in an illness when she was a toddler.  She loved him immediately, feeling “tenderness and sympathy” from him.

He understood my signs, and I knew it and loved him at once. But I did not dream that that interview would be the door through which I should pass from darkness into light, from isolation to friendship, companionship, knowledge, love. (Ch. 3)

Alexander Graham Bell is responsible for Helen Keller’s education because he recommended that her parents contact Mr. Anagnos at the Perkins Institute.  There was no school for the blind and deaf near them, so the institute sent them Anne Sullivan.

This my father did at once, and in a few weeks there came a kind letter from Mr. Anagnos with the comforting assurance that a teacher had been found. This was in the summer of 1886. But Miss Sullivan did not arrive until the following March. (Ch. 3)

Anne Sullivan changed Helen Keller’s life.  She taught her sign language by spelling into her hand and helping her associate those letters with words.  Helen was smart, and she caught on quickly.  She depended on Anne Sullivan to show her the world, and she became more of a normal child.  Previously, she had been in the dark and unable to communicate with anyone effectively.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial