The theme of The Story of My Life by Helen Keller is the power of perseverance to overcome great obstacles. Keller is struck with an illness when she is a very young child that makes her blind and deaf, and she exists in a world of confusion. She can not communicate with others but wants desperately to make herself understood and to understand others. She writes of this time, "At times that I kicked and screamed until I was exhausted." Keller, with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, goes on from this state of frustration to learn to write, read, and speak with sign language and Braille. Through endless hours of hard work, she also attends Radcliffe, the sister school of Harvard. In her studies, she has to apply herself with much more dedication than other students, but she does so and triumphs as a result.
Another theme of this book is the power of the right kind of education. As Keller writes, "It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful." Through the power of perseverance and through the thoughtful and enlightened education of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, who was trained to work with blind children, Keller blossoms. Sullivan uses the natural world and objects that are dear to Keller, such as her doll, to teach her the names of objects and then to teach her to read. As Keller writes about her early education in the outdoors, "The loveliness of things taught me all their use." Anne Sullivan knows what will motivate Keller, and she uses her gifts as a teacher to teach Keller and enable her to go on to great achievements.