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The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller
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In The Story of My Life, why did Helen experience "an impish fear... and disquietude" while writing?

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Having recovered from a debilitating illness as a baby, Helen Keller is left blind and deaf. Her parents are often "grieved and perplexed" and search endlessly for ways to help her, as revealed in The Story of My Life, Helen's autobiography. To show her appreciation for all the support she receives and for the opportunities presented to her by many "friends," this book serves as a motivational tool to show that no obstacle is too much to overcome.

Annie Sullivan, Helen's beloved teacher, has helped Helen in her efforts and "My soul, conscious of new strength, came out of bondage" (ch 13) and she has even learnt the basics of speech. Helen, encouraged by Miss Sullivan's descriptions of the "late foliage"(ch 14), writes a story entitled "The Frost King" for Mr Anagnos of The Perkins Institute which is very well received. Unfortunately, it turns out that she must have heard the story of the "Frost Fairies" by Margaret Canby to the point that she is accused of plagiarizing it. Helen is hugely affected by this and "the thought of those dreadful days chills my heart"(ch 14) and despite Margaret Canby's graciousness, and the fact that Helen uses this experience as part of her learning "The thought that what I wrote might not be absolutely my own tormented me."(ch 15) It is this "impish fear" that  "clutched my hand, so that I could not write any more that day. And even now I sometimes feel the same uneasiness and disquietude."

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