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Helen Keller's early life story is recounted in The Story of My Life, an autobiographical account of her first twenty-two years, including her attendance at Radcliffe College. It is important to her to make people understand that her illness cannot be seen as an excuse not to achieve. Helen read many books, including The Scarlett Letter when she was only eight years old, although it did not make much sense to her at the time. It, and the many other books she "read" made a huge contribution to "the richness of my vocabulary" as, whilst not being able to really understand or appreciate the words, they became most useful later.
The first book Helen read which she understood was "Little Lord Fauntleroy" after her tutor, who became her most trusted friend, read it to her and it was converted to "raised print" for her. There are many other books that Helen makes reference to in her conclusion which helped her discover the seeing world, such as "Little Women" which created "a sense of kinship with girls and boys who could see and hear."She did not read them for their contribution to literature or any academic reasons, just because " they laid their treasures at my feet."
Helen's "book-friends" - the authors whose works she liked the best, take up much of her descriptions in her concluding chapters. She readily admits that "literature is my Utopia."
Helen goes to great lengths to ensure that people understand that "blindness and deafness cannot rob" a person of " a subconscious memory of the green earth and murmuring waters." We are all blessed with a " sixth sense—a soul-sense which sees, hears, feels, all in one. " To conclude The Story of My Life, which in no way concludes her life story, Helen berates those whose handshake "is an impertinence" and who clearly do not appreciate what they have. A handshake to her is like a "loving glance" to a sighted person.
In the last chapter, Helen thanks her friends and those who have made a difference in her life; acknowledging " that my friends have made the story of my life." Helen is all too aware that her life could have been so different had it not been for the influences of the mostly positive people who surrounded her.
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