What is a summary of Helen Keller's The Story of My Life?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Story of My Life is the late Helen Keller's memoir of her struggle, with the considerable assistance of Anne Sullivan, to overcome the obstacles of blindness and deafness.  Not a reflection on life as a deaf and blind person, Keller focused instead on the positive aspects of that struggle to overcome her afflictions and lead a "normal" life.  Published in 1903, The Story of My Life remains in constant publication, and has been adapted for theater and film, precisely because of the positive message Keller chose to communicate.  Indeed, the mere fact of an individual lacking in both sight and the ability to hear learning to communicate, lead a normal life, and write a memoir all bespeak the courage of a remarkable individual.

Keller's memoir is divided into three main parts.  The first part is a straightforward, if inspiring, recitation of her life from her earliest memories as a child to the beginning of her life as a college student at Radcliffe.  The vital role of Anne Sullivan, understandably, assumes a high priority during this part of the book. As inspiring as the story of Sullivan's successful, if sometimes painful, efforts at elevating Keller out of a state of emotional isolation through the process of communication is the second part of Keller's memoir.  This section, unlike the first, provides a compilation, in chronological order, of Keller's letters to her family and friends that documents admirably her growth as a student and as a woman.  The final section was written by Keller's editor, John Macy, and recounts Keller's life on the basis of his scholarship, including Sullivan's written records of her work with the young Helen.