Helen Keller was understandably frustrated, angry, and depressed before Anne Sullivan arrived to help her. Unable to communicate with those in the world around her, she felt imprisoned. Her mood was especially dark and desperate in the days leading up to her teacher's arrival. Helen says,
"Anger and bitterness had preyed upon me continually for weeks and a deep languor had succeeded this passionate struggle".
Helen compares herself and her situation to a boat stuck in a thick fog. She describes her feelings by asking the reader,
"Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbor was".
Helen was not quite seven when Anne Sullivan came into her life. She describes the contrast between her life before and after Anne's arrival as "immeasurable" (Chapter 4 - "The Most Important Day").