What did the narrator from The Story of My Life learn when she went to the banks of the Tennessee River?
Miss Sullivan takes Helen Keller on a walk to the banks of the Tennessee River in the spring not long after she arrived at Helen's home as her tutor. Helen has learned to communicate using manual writing in her teacher's hand. Here, by the banks of the river, Helen learns for the first time about the "beneficence," or benefits, and goodness of nature. She learns that the sun and rain cause the trees to grow. She discovers how birds make their nests and is told how other animals, such as squirrels, lions, and deer, find food and shelter. Through Miss Sullivan, Helen learns to appreciate the beauty in nature and to think of nature as her friend. As the older Keller puts it, looking back,
As my knowledge of things grew I felt more and more the delight of the world I was in.
Keller emphasizes that Miss Sullivan was a hands-on teacher. She didn't simply have Helen sit in a room and learn from books but, as much as she could, arranged for Helen to learn directly from experience.
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