Why did Keller compare the climbing roses of her greenhouse with the asphodels of God's garden?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Keller was long fascinated with nature, and she found refuge in the natural world before and after the illness that made her blind and deaf as a young child. She writes that after she had a tantrum as a baby (before her illness), "I went to find comfort and to hide my hot face in the cool leaves and grass." She writes that she never found in the greenhouses of the North the beautiful kinds of climbing roses that grew in her house in Alabama. She writes, "I could not help wondering if they did not resemble the asphodels of God's garden." Homer's The Odyssey describes the afterworld as being covered in asphodel flowers. For example, Achilles's ghost walks across a field of asphodels to the afterworld. Keller's comparison implies that her roses were heavenly in appearance and scent. They are a cherished memory of the period of her childhood when she had sight.