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The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller

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Provide a character sketch of Arthur H. Keller from The Story of My Life.

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From Helen's autobiography, we can infer a lot of aspects about her father, Arthur Keller. Firstly, that he is very dedicated to his family. Not only did he build the family a home, but Helen describes him as "loving" and "indulgent."

Secondly, he values education highly. Even when Helen becomes deaf and blind, Arthur does everything he can to ensure that she receives the best possible education. This includes taking Helen to Washington to seek the advice of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell on the best schools for deaf and blind children.

Thirdly, Arthur is also very generous. In a letter to her mother, for example, Helen offers her thanks to her father for giving her money so that she can buy gifts for her friends. Arthur, therefore, is very obliging towards and financially supportive of Helen. She also notes that he rarely came home without a guest because he loved to offer his hospitality to others.

Finally, Arthur enjoys the natural world. Helen notes, for example, that he takes great pride in growing fruits, like watermelons, in his garden. He also has a great love for his dog and for going hunting.

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The Story of My Life by Helen Keller reveals many of the occurrences of her childhood and many of the influences in her life. Her father, Arthur H Keller has a huge impact on Helen's development, tirelessly looking for methods and people to help her. Helen's father, a captain in the Confederate Army, has been married before and Helen's mother Kate is much younger than he.

Helen remembers Captain Keller as a loving father who takes great pleasure in pleasing his daughter. He is proud of his garden and grows the best grapes, berries, watermelons and strawberries and Helen is always the first to taste the sweet, ripe grapes. He knows that Helen also loves the garden, "the paradise of my childhood" (ch 2) and relsihes leading her through the garden.

He is also an accomplished hunter and a gracious host to regular guests. As a newspaper editor, Helen, as a blind and deaf girl, is often perplexed by his work as, even when she puts his glasses on, she can still not conclude what he might be doing and only years later can she understand his occupation. He also tells Helen, after she has learnt the manual alphabet, thus setting "my spirit free," anecdotes which Helen recalls at "opportune moments," (ch 2) thus bringing her father much delight. 

A breakthrough for the family, after being "grieved and perplexed (ch 3) comes when Helen's father takes her to see a Dr Chisolm who then refers them to Dr Alexander Graham Bell and he is the first step towards "the door through which I should pass from darkness into light." (ch 3)

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From The Story of My Life, please provide a character sketch of Helen Keller's father. 

Helen Keller has a very supportive family, as indicated in The Story of My Life. Her parents will go to whatever lengths possible to ensure that she gets the most out of her "dayless life."(ch 2) Unfortunately, Helen was left blind and deaf after a debilitating illness at the age of only nineteen months. Her parents are often "grieved and perplexed"(ch 3 ) when her temper tantrums become so regular, they occur "almost hourly"(ch 3) and Helen takes refuge in the garden "the paradise of my childhood."(ch 1) Helen's father loves his garden and has some of the best watermelons in the country.

Helen's most vivid memory of her "loving and indulgent "(ch 2) father occurs shortly after they move house. She finds him with a sheet of paper in his hand - he is a newspaper editor- but Helen cannot grasp the purpose of holding this paper. She is confused but, as bright as she is, she mimics his actions and is somewhat upset when "even wearing his spectacles, thinking they might help solve the mystery"(ch 2) does not allow her a better understanding. Only years later will Helen understand what a newspaper editor does. 

It is clear that, despite the difficulties in communicating with Helen, every possible step is taken, resulting in the arrival of Miss Sullivan. Helen's father, after she has mastered the manual alphabet even "tells" her stories by spelling "clumsily" into her hand. He is apparently a good host and an excellent hunter. Most of all, he is devoted to his daughter. 

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