Black and white illustration of Helen Keller

The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller

Start Free Trial

Describe Helen Keller's sailing experience in The Story of My Life.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In her 1903 autobiography, The Story of My Life, the author Helen Keller wrote that, besides reading, she loved outdoor sports like sailing and canoeing. In fact, she learnt swimming and rowing when she was very young.

In chapter 22, Helen recollects a very thrilling sailing experience that she once had in the Northwest Arm when she went to attend a sports festival.

There was a regatta in the Northwest Arm, in which the boats from the different warships were engaged. We went in a sail-boat along with many others to watch the races. 

Helen went to watch a boat racing competition there along with many other people in a small sailboat. Everything was fine during the boat race and she enjoyed a lot. But after the race got over, the weather became quite stormy and cloudy all of a sudden. The huge sea waves rose and continuously kept hitting their sailboat and moved it here and there, but Keller says they were not really frightened by all this.

Our hearts beat fast, and our hands trembled with excitement, not fear; for we had the hearts of vikings, and we knew that our skipper was master of the situation

Luckily for them, the skipper of their boat had good experience in handling such situations. He safely brought the boat towards the shore. We are also told that only their boat could fight the waves and reach the shore. So it looks like Keller and everyone else on the boat had an amazing, adventurous sailing experience.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Describe Helen's sailing experience in The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. 

Helen Keller, in her autobiography, The Story of My Life, recounts many of the experiences she had up to the age off 22 when she wrote The Story of My Life as a means to inspire others to rise to challenges that otherwise can become a "nameless fear." (ch 5) Helen learns to appreciate everything and "learns from life itself." Amongst her many pleasurable activities, including reading and "outdoor pursuits," is sailing.

Helen has been to the ocean before but on her trip to Nova Scotia, she is able to experience the ocean in a completely different way through sailing to various places such as Bedford Basin, McNabb's Island and other fascinating places and relishing thoughts of past events and men-of-war who would have sailed the same waters. Helen recalls one "thrilling experience" in particular when she goes to "watch" races between the boats from some of the warships when the water is calm but, on the way back to shore the wind rises and a black cloud threatens. She is in a boat on the sea, the best vantage point to be a part of the excitement. Helen is not afraid and her "hands trembled with excitement" as she has complete confidence in the "skipper" who receives applause from the large boats for his bravery in facing the stormy weather. Despite being tired and hungry, Helen returns satisfied from her experience. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on