What was the early life of Helen Keller like before she went deaf and blind in The Story of My Life?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Helen Keller remembers a happy childhood.

An older Helen Keller describes her memories of early childhood as a “few impressions [that] stand out vividly from the first years of my life” (ch 1).  She lived in a “tiny house consisting of a large square room and a small one, in which the servant slept.”  She lived with her father, Captain Keller, and her mother, on the family homestead.  She describes her childhood idyllically.

The Keller homestead, where the family lived, was a few steps from our little rose-bower. It was called "Ivy Green" because the house and the surrounding trees and fences were covered with beautiful English ivy. Its old-fashioned garden was the paradise of my childhood. (ch 1)

For Helen, the illness happened very early in her childhood.  She was only 19 months old when she was taken with the illness that cost her sight and hearing.  After that, she entered a prison of darkness that was only relieved by senses of touch and smell.  She lived this way until Anne Sullivan came to teach her language.  She was intelligent enough that it did not take long for her to catch on to words and eventually write her autobiography.

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The Story of My Life

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