What was life like in the village that the writer visited during the winter in The Story of My Life by Helen Keller?

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Despite Helen's disabilities and the challenges they pose, she's determined to explore the wider world around her as best she can. As part of her ongoing engagement with her natural environment, she regularly spends winters in New England with Anne Sullivan. Coming from Alabama, Helen isn't used to cold, snowy winters, so it's a whole new experience for her.

Although Helen is keener than ever to explore the world around her, ironically, it's the very remoteness and isolation of the New England village that appeals to her so strongly. It's as if having ventured out into the world, she now retreats from it, but with the crucial difference that it's because she's chosen to. Helen wants to experience as much as she possibly can, and the chilly remoteness of a New England village in wintertime adds another dimension to her ever-growing list of life-changing experiences. Helen really looks forward to her trips to New England; they invigorate her, making her feel more free than she's ever felt before.

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In The Story of My Life, Helen Keller makes numerous trips with Annie Sullivan, her teacher and the person responsible for setting "my spirit free."(ch 1)  Helen and Annie spend most winters in "the North" and Helen is fascinated by "the treasures of the snow"(ch 12) in a New England village they visit. 

The weather fascinates Helen and she describes their time there as they told "merry tales and frolicked." The "vague terror" she feels at night heightens her enjoyment of life in this "desolate solitude" - quite different from the solitude she felt before she learnt to communicate more effectively.  Helen is so impressed by the snow and its brightness that she recalls how "it penetrated even the darkness that veils my eyes."

Helen loves to go tobogganing and feels at one with nature during this time as "joining hands with the winds we felt ourselves divine!" Even though she barely feels the ground that whole winter, she is very inspired and thrilled by her experience. 

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