What does Keller say about the time she showed her mother she could spell the word "doll" with her finger?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Miss Sullivan first arrived at the Keller home to teach Helen, she gave the child a doll.  While Helen played with her new toy, Miss Sullivan spelled the letters "d-o-l-l" into the little girl's hand.  Helen could not make the connection that the letters spelled into her hand were the name of the toy she was playing with.  However, Helen was bright and a fast learner.  She was soon able to mimic the same hand movements that Miss Sullivan had shown her.  She was excited and she felt a sense of pride.  Helen wanted to show her mother the new thing she had learned.  She ran downstairs, "held up [her] hand[,] and made the letters for doll" for her mother to see.  Though Helen was able to accurately make the letter signs, the little girl had no idea what they meant.  At that time, she was merely imitating the movements that her teacher had taught her.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Anne Sullivan arrived to teach Helen Keller in 1887, Sullivan gave Keller a doll and traced the letters for "doll" in Keller's hand. Helen Keller imitated the slow finger movements that her teacher had shown her, but she still didn't really understand that the word applied to the object "doll." Keller then went to her mother and spelled out the word for "doll," still not understanding what it referred to or what it meant. Later, when Sullivan was repeatedly trying to help Keller understand the difference between the words "mug" and "water," Keller lost her patience and dashed her doll to the ground. She felt no remorse but only delight at feeling the shards of the broken doll at her feet. Feeling intense frustration in "the still, dark world," she wasn't yet able to experience love or regret.

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The Story of My Life

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