It is true that The Story of my Life is both engaging and entertaining, but it also deeply moving and educational in helping readers to identify with those with sensory disabilities; therefore it does seem that the author's main purpose was probably to spread awareness and openness about an issue that was often pushed under the carpet back in the times when this piece was written. The author does seem to have wanted to inform others about what life is like for people with visual and/or hearing impairments, probably due to a suspicion that attitudes of intolerance and shame around sensory impairments and learning disabilities were often born of ignorance and prejudice.
Helen Keller’s story of conquering her deaf/blind issues seems colored by her justified angry response to this prejudice against those with disabilities, and if her motive was to inform and educate, then she certainly succeeded in raising public awareness as new audiences became aware and rallied to her call. The human interest element to a real life tale was guaranteed to catch the public eye and galvanize some into action to correct a deep injustice in society, or at least to move towards the more empathic provision we have today in most societies. Her account was popularized by plays and movies such as The Miracle Worker, and Helen's story now provides a symbol of hope for the disabled all around the world. The medical profession began to investigate the issues and to carry out research, being more careful to truly analyze the talents, intelligence, capabilities and aptitudes of the real persona behind the disability and not to write patients off completely just because they suffered one or two sensory impairments. They found that often these patients were of very high intelligence with great gifts to offer the world.
The Story of My Life was published when Helen was only in her early twenties and reveals the true free spirit of the seemingly untamed but angry child who was locked away in a dark, bleak, quiet and lonely void, virtually a prisoner. Passionately and urgently, Helen shows readers her anger and fury and sense of impotence, carrying readers through the journey of her life, education and eventual glimmers of hope as a whole world of communication dawns. When Helen recognizes the word “water” as her teacher spells the letters using her fingers, we share her sense of victorious joy as “that living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!”