What does the book teach us?
A remarkable autobiography that expects no sympathy or pity, Hellen Keller's The Story of My Life is, above all, and inspiring work that demonstrates the power of intellect, perseverance, and motivation.
Having been a precocious baby, Hellen had learned to pronounce short phrases such as "How d'ye? and words such as "tea" and "water." It was Helen's mastery of these words that was the key to her recognition of the letters that Anne Sullivan made into her hand, for her intellect made a connection:
‘‘I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten-a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.’’
Once this connection was made, Helen was eager to learn all that she could. Despite her disabilities she attended Radcliffe and, with the assistance of her mentor, Anne Sullivan, she mastered the lectures and lessons and graduated. In addition, she even learned to speech well enough that others outside her circle could understand her. The lesson here about perseverance and determination is apparent; moreover as instruction in the Socratic method, it poses question upon question for the reader to consider. Indeed, some of these questions are extremely relevant to modern society, such as the consideration of how Helen would have been treated today with the Disabilities Act. That is, would the expectations for her have been the same as those she set for herself? Above all, Helen Keller's story teaches students to never set the bar too low for themselves. And, if they do not master things early in life, they should not become discouraged because Helen did not begin her formal education until she was seven years old, yet she became successful.