Why was Helen initially unable to ask her teacher questions?

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Historians consider the relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller to have been one of the most heartwarming and miraculous of all time. What Sullivan accomplished in teaching Keller was an extraordinary achievement due to the many gaps that needed to bridged in order to establish an ability to communicate....

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Historians consider the relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller to have been one of the most heartwarming and miraculous of all time. What Sullivan accomplished in teaching Keller was an extraordinary achievement due to the many gaps that needed to bridged in order to establish an ability to communicate. Not only was Sullivan teaching a student that was both blind and deaf, but was a teacher that was blind herself, rendering Keller unable to even communicate with visual gestures.

Keller lived out a frustrating existence in a world of absolute darkness and silence. Sullivan used a painstaking and inventive method of teaching by spelling words in the palm of Keller's hand. Eventually, Keller was able to contextualize water with the word being spelled on her palm, and was finally able to use her sense of touch to ask questions.

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Helen Keller is initially unable to ask Miss Sullivan questions because she has no way to communicate. Miss Sullivan has been brought in to try to bridge the gap between Helen's world of darkness and soundlessness and the rest of society.

Helen can only react to the presence of the mysterious woman who hugs her and gives her a doll. She doesn't know who Miss Sullivan is or why she is there. As Helen puts it, she is in a dense fog and doesn't realize she is near the safe harbor that Miss Sullivan represents.

When Miss Sullivan spells the word doll in her hand while Helen is holding her new doll, Helen can't make the connection between the letters and the object. She goes to her mother in delight and shows her the letters, but she has no idea what they mean. It is only after Helen understands, later, that what Miss Sullivan is spelling in her hand means "water" that a new world opens to her, and she has a means to ask her teacher questions.

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