What is a character sketch of Mr. Anagnos in The Story of My Life?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Below, I wrote a first-person character sketch of Mr. Anagnos, Director of the Perkins Institute for the Blind:

In the summer of 1886, Mr. Arthur Keller wrote to me at the advice of the eminent Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, asking for a teacher for his daughter Helen, who is blind and deaf. I recommended that Anne Sullivan work with Helen at the Kellers' house in Alabama. I grew to love Helen dearly.

In 1892, Helen sent me a wonderful story called "The Frost King," which I published in one of our institute's publications. The story turned out to be similar to a tale that had already been published by Margaret Canby. Though Helen explained that she had not read this story, I overheard her telling a teacher at the institute about Canby's version of Jack Frost, and I felt that Helen had lied to me. I almost had to remove Anne Sullivan as Helen's teacher, as I suspected Anne of lying about the Canby story. It turned out that another person had read Helen this story many years before, not Anne. Therefore, Anne Sullivan was allowed to remain Helen's teacher.

I had long been fond of Helen, who would write me wonderful compositions about subjects I loved, such as antiquity. When The Story of My Life was published in Ladies' Home Journal, I said on the record that I believed at the time of "The Frost King" episode that Helen was innocent. She, however, believes I have retracted my once-fervent love for her. I admit I was a bit chagrined by Helen's behavior in connection with this story.

mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Michael Anagnos worked at the Perkins Institution for the Blind as the director. He was born in Greece, but later immigrated to the United States.  He spoke both Greek and English.  He was tall in stature.  

Mr. Anagnos helped Helen Keller's father find a suitable teacher for her.  He found Anne Sullivan, a teacher who also had suffered from vision loss.  He arranged for her to go to Alabama to help young Helen.  Later, Helen attended the Perkins Insitution for a period of four years.  While there, she became a dear friend of Mr. Anagnos.  It was also during that time that her close friendship with Mr. Anagnos  began to deteriorate.  Helen wrote a short story which she later found out closely resembled another published work.  Accused of purposefully plagiarizing, Helen found out that Mr. Anagnos was deeply disappointed in her.  He was a man whose trust could not be regained if lost.  

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The Story of My Life

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