What is a summary of Chapter 2 of The Story of My Life by Helen Keller?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this chapter, Helen Keller describes her life from the time she overcame her illness until just before her teacher Anne Sullivan came.  Since she had become blind and deaf at such a young age, Helen found it hard to communicate with others and did not experience the world like most little kids.

I understood a good deal of what was going on about me. At five I learned to fold and put away the clean clothes when they were brought in from the laundry, and I distinguished my own from the rest. I knew by the way my mother and aunt dressed when they were going out, and I invariably begged to go with them.  (Ch. 2)

Little Helen Keller found it frustrating when she could not talk, the way others did.  She had the capability to talk, but did not know language.  She was too young when she got sick.  As a result, she was curious and annoyed when others talked with their mouths instead of making signs, as she had to do.

I do not remember when I first realized that I was different from other people; but I knew it before my teacher came to me. I had noticed that my mother and my friends did not use signs as I did when they wanted anything done, but talked with their mouths. Sometimes I stood between two persons who were conversing and touched their lips. I could not understand, and was vexed. (Ch. 2)

Helen Keller’s friend and constant companion was Martha Washington, the cook’s child.  She understood Helen’s signs, so they could communicate with each other to some extent.  When Helen’s little sister was born, she considered her an “intruder” because she got her mother’s attention, which was previously all for Helen.  She even overturned the baby in its cradle one day, but her mother caught it.  This was probably the point where her parents decided they needed to learn to communicate with Helen and got her a teacher.

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The Story of My Life

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