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The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller

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The writer's intention and message in The Story of My Life


In The Story of My Life, Helen Keller's intention is to inspire and educate readers about overcoming adversity. She shares her experiences of becoming blind and deaf and the subsequent personal and educational triumphs, emphasizing the importance of perseverance, determination, and the transformative power of education and support from others.

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What is the writer's intention and message in The Story of My Life?

Helen Keller wrote The Story of My Life just as her adult life was beginning. She was a keen student at Radcliffe College at the time, an achievement in itself and something that she could never have even dreamed of as a physically disabled woman at the turn of the twentieth century without the input of several significant people in her life such as her parents, Ann Sullivan and Alexander Graham Bell, to whom she dedicated The Story of My Life.

It is an autobiographical account of events and there is no element of fiction in this book so it cannot be called a novel. A novel is an untrue story which may be based on a true story but is in itself fictitious and only seemingly true due to its correlation with real-life events. Helen Keller really felt that the "living word awakened my soul' and despite well-meaning people making her life "unintentionally difficult" she took encouragement from "the consolation of knowing that I overcame them all"   

Helen Keller dedicated herself to the cause of others, having recognized that her own life would have been so different if it were not for the patience and love of her friends, mentors and family. Anyone reading The Story of My Life will hopefully be motivated to either make more of their own lives or help others do so.

There is no degree of pity in Helen's book and her honesty regarding her outbursts as a child and her seemingly mean streak - especially when it came to her younger sister whom she once tried to tip out of a crib belonging to Helen- ensure that even a reader who has experienced despair can come away, having read this book, with hope for something better.

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What is the message in The Story of My Life?

To understand this book, you have to consider it in context. Helen Keller is not telling the "story of her life"--how could she? She was only 22 when she wrote it. She is telling the "story of my life up to this point." Keller was a student at Radcliffe College when she wrote this autobiography, and it is not the last one she would write. She came out of dark isolation into a world of learning and language--well, into the world. At this point, she has friends and studies and a full life, and as a student at a preeminent college, she has reached the highest level of success thus far--and much higher than anyone would have thought possible a decade earlier.

With this information in mind, it is easy to see and understand the joy in this book. The message is one of appreciation and self-congratulations. To steal a little from Walt Whitman, she is "singing the song of herself." She writes about the skill of her teachers, Anne Sullivan, the help of her friends, and her own progress in tones of wonder. The message is--you can overcome.  Anyone can overcome, because look at what Helen Keller achieved.

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What is the message in The Story of My Life?

The Story of My Life is an autobiographical chronicle by Helen Keller of the first twenty two years of her life. Helen’s account describes events that transpired antecedent to her illness. There are some poignant messages in this autobiographical account. We learn how Helen “came, saw, and conquered” and how her spirit was set free.

By reading this account one might conclude that Helen Keller is conveying the message of hope, faith, and gallantry. The underlying message also occurring throughout the book is one’s ability to defeat suffering and pain. We learn how even with tribulation one can succeed via determination and tenacity. One must being to climb mountain barriers and achieve true knowledge and enlightenment.

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