“Physical handicap, however severe it may be, cannot hold an inquisitive learner for long from acquiring the highest amount of excellence in any discipline of life”. In the light of this remark, give the academic progress of Helen

Expert Answers

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

Once Miss Sullivan taught Helen Keller to understand the manual writing that Sullivan signed into her hand, there was no stopping Helen. She loved to learn and decided she would go to Harvard. In those sex-segregated days, that meant going to Radcliffe, the female counterpart to Harvard.

This was a daunting task, given Keller's disabilities. First, she had never had any formal schooling. She had always been homeschooled by Miss Sullivan, so she had no idea of how to function in a regular classroom. So, to get classroom experience, she and Miss Sullivan headed to the Cambridge School.

From there, Keller proceeded to Radcliffe. In those days there was not even the idea of accommodating people with disabilities, so Helen and Miss Sullivan had a difficult time. Not only did Helen have to have all her lectures written rapid-fire into her hand, most textbooks were unavailable in Braille. Helen therefore had to have all the textbooks written into her hand, leaving little free time to enjoy fun or socializing. Exams were a problem too, as everything she had studied would flee from her mind. All the same, Helen persisted and had this to say about her time in college:

While my days at Radcliffe were still in the future, they were encircled with a halo of romance, which they have lost; but in the transition from romantic to actual I have learned many things I should never have known had I not tried the experiment. One of them is the precious science of patience, which teaches us that we should take our education as we would take a walk in the country, leisurely, our minds hospitably open to impressions of every sort.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

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