The Story Of My Life by Helen Keller instils in us a feeling of hope and love for life. Elucidate

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anyone reading The Story of My Life by Helen Keller comes to understand her struggles and how complicated life is for her but at the same time, the reader is left with a feeling of admiration that, at age twenty two, Helen Keller has already achieved so much. She has been criticized for the poetic language she uses but, in my opinion, this is Helen's way of illustrating her feelings. 

As a deaf and blind person, Helen Keller cannot express herself in any other way except through writing and this has only been made possible by Annie Sullivan through whose persistence and dedication Helen learns the meaning of words "and the light of love shone on me in that very hour." (ch 4) Helen's honesty makes her story all the more real as she does not focus only on her achievements but also on her misfortunes and near disasters. Each disaster is resolved and finds a place in her memory with Helen determined to learn from each occurrence and "from life itself."(ch 7)

Helen draws her reader into her story by making him or her understand what it might mean to be blind, deaf or, as in her case, both blind and deaf! At first, Helen is not able to "understand anything unless I touched it" (ch 6) which means the process for her is long and she is in need of "practice, practice, practice."(ch 13) She engages with her reader who can relate to the fact that she can communicate, can learn and can achieve and it appears that, for Helen, although it is challenging, it is just "different" and she does have access to language but in a non-conventional way. "What joy to talk with other children in my own language" (ch 9) reveals her delight when "speaking" to children at The Perkins' Institute for the Blind. 

Others are clearly instrumental in Helen's success as "the barren places between my mind and the minds of others blossomed like the rose." (ch 11) One of the reasons she writes The Story of My Life is as a tribute to these many people which in itself is inspiring as, other than her childhood selfishness, she displays an enormous amount of selflessness and looks for ways to help others in everything she does.  

Helen Keller's love for life is so evident from the pages that the reader may even feel guilty for every negative thought he or she ever had. If she "overcame them all" (ch 19), in speaking about her entrance exams to Radcliffe, surely the reader can aspire to the greatest heights.