What is inspirational about Helen Keller as seen in The Story of My Life and why?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most inspirational points readers can take away from Helen Keller's autobiography The Story of My Life is the importance of perseverance.

In her early days, Helen describes herself as having been a bit animalistic in her behavior due to being trapped in darkness, silence, and loneliness. For example, she reports playing with the cook's daughter, Martha Washington, because she loved to "domineer over her" and that Martha "generally submitted to [Helen's] tyranny rather than risk a hand-to-hand encounter" (Ch. II). She also reports being able to recognize when she was "naughty" and having a "feeling akin to regret" but not to the extent that it ever stopped her from seeking what she wanted. Yet, even despite her anamalistic nature, she had the perseverance to learn how to do things in her world, such as fold and put away clean clothes. Furthermore, when she starts to be educated by Anne Sullivan, she very quickly comes to understand the what was wrong about her previous behavior and to learn that there is a world beyond her isolated self. She quickly learns how to communicate, which opens the doors to other knowledge and a new understanding of morality. Hence, not only is Helen able to learn as a result of her perseverance, she is also able to develop into a genuinely good and well-rounded individual.

The goodness Helen develops as a result of her perseverance is especially seen later in her determination to help others through charity work for the disabled, the speaking tours she gave, and the articles she wrote to champion the blind and deaf.