How does Keller's world change once she begins to understand the connection between language and meaning in The Story of My Life?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Anne Sullivan first arrived at the Keller home, she tried repeatedly to show Helen that each thing had a name.  Her goal was to teach Helen the connection between words and meanings.  Miss Sullivan began this instruction immediately after arriving in the Keller home.  While Helen held her doll, Miss Sullivan spelled the letters "d-o-l-l" into her palm.  Miss Sullivan did this daily with many words.  Finally one day, Helen's mind made the connection between the letters being spelled into her palms and the things that were being named.  Miss Sullivan and Helen were outside when they came across a water spout.  Her teacher put Helen's hand under the water and spelled "w-a-t-e-r" into her palm.  Suddenly Helen realized that the letters

"meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over [her] hand. That living word awakened [her] soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!"

Once Helen was able to understand that each thing had a name, she felt that the world opened up to her.  Helen became eager to learn.  She wanted to know the name of everything.  She experienced everything with "new sight."  She felt an overwhelming sense of happiness.

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The Story of My Life

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