Black and white illustration of Helen Keller

The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller

Start Free Trial

Student Question

What does "golden mist" mean in Helen Keller's The Story of My Life?

Expert Answers

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

Helen was hesitant when she began writing her autobiography.  Many years before, she had written a story and had been accused of intentional plagiarism.  Helen wrote a creative story called "The Frost King," but discovered that it was very similar to one which had been read to her years before.  When writing her story, she had no idea that she was creating a plot based on distant memories.  After this, Helen became a hesitant writer.

In the opening paragraph of The Story of My Life, Helen wrote about her fear in starting her autobiography:

I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist (Chapter I).

Helen went on to explain that when recalling her childhood, she had trouble separating fact from fiction.  She noted the difficulties for adults as they recalled their childhoods.  In addition to this, Helen lived a life of silent darkness during her early childhood.  

Before Miss Sullivan arrived when Helen was six years old, she lived in a world where she was, in many ways, trapped inside her own body.  She could not see or hear.  She struggled to communicate.  She could communicate basic wants and needs to close friends and family.  She could not, however, communicate with any level of complexity.  In frustration, she often went into fits of rage.  Miss Sullivan came to be her teacher, and with her help Helen learned to communicate using the manual alphabet.  This changed her life.

Helen was hesitant to write about her childhood because of how vague some of the memories were.  She felt as though they were covered by a "golden mist" because of how distant they seemed.  She also did not want a repeat of her previous experience with plagiarism.  Helen did not want to be accused of writing a story that was not from her own mind.

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
Approved by eNotes Editorial