Please provide a character sketch of Helen Keller in chapter 2 of The Story of My Life.

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Helen Keller wrote The Story of My Life when she was at college and it covers the first twenty two years of her life. Much is said about her struggles and triumphs throughout and an overall picture of a mature, responsible, motivational person so inflicted and challenged and yet so inspired to achieve great things develops.

Chapter 2 deals with Helen's younger days before Ann Sullivan "set my spirit free." (Ch 1) To create a character sketch, focusing on the event with Mildred her younger sister, will assist in understanding the kind of frustrations Helen has in not being able to make herself understood as she tries to make sense of her "silent, aimless, dayless life."

Helen takes up much of her mother's attention and when Mildred is born, when Helen is about five years old, she is aware that Mildred requires her mother's time and effort. Helen is not happy with this situation. Her mother is everything to her in her "long night" and allows her to be as independent as possible; something very important to the headstrong Helen. Things come to a head when Helen discovers Mildred in a crib reserved for her beloved doll, Nancy.

Helen is much like any young child, selfish and self- absorbed and she has not been able to develop a perspective of anyone else's world at this stage. It is therefore natural for her to simply tip the baby out of the crib. As always, Helen's mother is close by to avoid catastrophe and Helen learns a valuable lesson when she is "restored to my human heritage" and able to understand how precious human relationships can be.   

The fact that Helen shares this story in her autobiography, not only focusing on the positive aspects of her amazing journey, also creates an image of this truly inspirational individual who is able to "learn from life itself." (Ch 7) 

Read the study guide:
The Story of My Life

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