What is a character sketch of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell in The Story of My Life?

Dr. Alexander Graham Bell is a famous inventor and doctor who becomes Helen Keller's good friend. He meets Helen when she is a child and recommends that Helen's parents contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind to find her a teacher. Later, he shows Helen the World's Fair and invites her to his home in Nova Scotia. He is a kind, patient man who loves children and has a good sense of humor.

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Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who patented the first telephone, was in many ways Helen's savior (along with Anne Sullivan). Helen's father consulted with Alexander Graham Bell in Washington. At this meeting, Helen, then a young child, was immediately struck by the doctor's kindness and love of children. He was a great doctor and famous inventor, but he allowed Helen to play with his watch and held her on his knee. He also understood her signs, and he advised her father to write to Mr. Anagnos, then head of the Perkins Institution in Boston, a school for blind people. This is the means by which Anne Sullivan came to teach Helen and to foster her learning. In 1893, Helen traveled to the World's Fair and went around the exhibits with Dr. Graham Bell. She also spent time with him in Washington and in his lab on Cape Breton Island, where he explained scientific experiments to her in interesting terms. In her narrative, he emerges as a kind man who is brilliant and yet still able to connect with children. 

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Helen Keller's parents sought help from Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who was famous for inventing the telephone. He had family members who were deaf, so he had sympathy for Helen's plight. In her autobiography, Helen described him as being full of "tenderness and sympathy" toward her. When her parents took Helen to see him, she was a little girl. She recalled sitting on his knee as he let her play with his watch. Dr. Bell even "understood [her] signs, and [she] knew it and loved him at once." Dr. Bell was patient and understanding with Helen in a time when not everyone was.

Helen's parents did not know what to do about their daughter. They wanted her to be educated and helped. Dr. Bell suggested that they contact Mr. Anagnos of the Perkins Institution, which was a Boston school for the blind. It was through Mr. Anagnos that Helen's teacher, Annie Sullivan, came to help Helen learn to communicate. Helen noted that at the time of their visit to Dr. Bell, she could not have "dream[ed] that that interview would be the door through which [she] should pass from darkness into light, from isolation to friendship, companionship, knowledge, love."

When Helen was older, Dr. Bell showed her around the World's Fair. She also visited his home on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. He was a dear friend to Helen. He was a man who "[made] every subject he touche[d] interesting." Though he was an important and famous person, he made time for Helen and was sympathetic to her. This showed that he was patient and understanding, as well as caring. He was a loyal friend.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 4, 2020
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