Helen Keller Summary of “The Story of My Life”

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Helen Keller

Summary of “The Story of My Life”
The Story of My Life shows, Helen Keller’s life is neither a miracle nor a joke. It is a tremendous achievement. The most surprising thing about Helen Keller’s autobiography is how literate she is. The most enjoyable aspect of The Story of My Life is her passion for books. She discusses her favorite classics which she read in English, Greek, Latin, French and German. She mentioned that it was difficult to get books in Braille, and when she was required by a course to read a certain work that was not yet published in Braille, Anne Sullivan would have to spell out the book in the palm of Helen’s hand so that she could keep up with her class. When Helen did get hold of a Braille book, she devoured it. What a joy it must have been to read to herself, possibly 50 times faster than Anne could communicate the words to her through finger signing.

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Helen also mentions her other “best friend,” the typewriter, which allowed her to write her school papers and later her book. Another enjoyable aspect of The Story of My Life is that if you ever feel sorry for yourself for what you don’t have or what you are currently struggling with, your deficiencies and struggles may suddenly seem minor in comparison to Helen’s. What makes The Story of My Life even more fascinating is that this linguistic objectivity mirrors the objectivity of Keller’s journey from being a near-savage to becoming one of humanity’s greatest representatives.

Keller’s narrative powers are as dramatic and as highly developed as her intellectual faculties, and one of the most moving scenes in the book (moving at once in an existential sense and in an immediate life-and-death sense) is the scene when she becomes trapped in a cherry tree during a thunderstorm. Keller and Sullivan had been out on a long walk, and they stopped to climb a tree to relax before heading home, and as the day was so pleasant, Sullivan decided to go home to bring back a picnic basket so that they could prolong their enjoyment. A short time after leaving Keller in the tree, however, a violent and unexpected storm moved in. Keller could feel a palpable shift in the atmosphere immediately, and when the storm arrived full force, her terror of aloneness in the face of possible annihilation rose to a histrionic pitch.

Keller’s full power comes most dramatically alive when describing the scene at the well, of course, because she weaves together almost every aspect of her existential experience on earth into a tour-de-force of self-discovery, the depths of the scene’s sensual and intellectual self-revelation prefiguring (and perhaps even matching) Proust’s celebrated “madeleine” scene in In Search of Lost Time. I n the second part of the book, we can read the letters written by Helen to her beloved ones during 1887-1901. It was quite interesting and informative with wonder and curiosity. Through these letters, she opened her mind, saw, felt and touched the worlds of wonders. They are exercises which have trained her to write. The book “Story of My Life” is a story of courage and determination and a work of inspirational literature.


First of all, I think it is so amazing that there is such a thing as autobiographies and that certain famous or influential people have decided to write them. Helen Keller is such an inspirational person in history and it’s so wonderful that we have a record of her journey with this book. I like biographies too, but there’s just something more “moving” about an autobiography.

What I really loved about this book was Helen’s descriptions of her childhood. Before her teacher, Anne Sullivan (as inspirational a figure as Helen herself) came into her life, Helen was literally lost in the darkness. She hated herself, the world and everyone around her. In other words, she felt incredibly sorry for herself…which is actually understandable! If I was deaf, blind and mute, I would probably feel the same way! Can you imagine only having the senses of taste and touch?? Anyways, Anne is able to actually teach Helen how to read and write. We should read this book to learn about TWO amazing heroines, and read it especially if we need to stop feeling sorry for ourself about anything!

My favorite quote from the book: “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or heard, but can only be felt by the human heart”.

I truly love reading about incredible women. Here’s a list of other women whom I’ve read books about in the past couple of years:

Major Characters Analysis

Helen Keller

She is the main character of the book, she is blind and deaf but even with that she doesn’t show any repugnance for her state, there is much to say about her like she is very close to her family specially with his mother, because she’s always like talking about what she does with them and all the stuff they have done for her, Like for example when she tells that when she was young she thought that her little sister wasn’t like her mom’s daughter, she was always seeing her as an intruder or something, Other remarkable thing that can be mentioned about Helen Keller is that She is always trying to improve herself like she really likes to find new ways to communicate herself , for example that summer she spent practicing her French, What I can tell about her is that she is an awesome life example. Anne Mansfield Sullivan

She was the teacher of Helen, sent by Anagnos, Before knowing Helen she had some sight problems so as some familiar problems too, her mother died and her father left them (Anne and his brother), then her brother died in the poorhouse they were left, Then when Anne Left the poorhouse she searched for her education at the Perkins Institution, and her eyes where operated, the by the time she and Helen met each other they began to have some differences specially cause of Helen bad table manners so Anne punished her by not teaching her anything, with some time Helen and Anne had a very strong relationship, Then Anne improved Helen’s learning process by for example when she pumped water to Helen’s hand and taught her the name of it, since there Anne came knew by the awesome way she found to teach Helen, Helen in
fact became very famous, some time after that Helen entered to A normal school and Anne got there to help Helen with that, Then after that She and Helen began to travel around the globe for Helen’s answering questions tours, Some time after that They both meet John Macy and Anne marries him, then they got divorced. Anne Dies on 20 of October 1936.

Kate Adams Keller
According to the Reading, Helen’s Mother was tall, blonde and had blue eyes, She helped to the family at the cotton plantation, and was always taking care of Helen this can be deducted cause she was the one who realized that beside Helen’s Illness there was something wrong on her daughter, She also tried helping her daughter by Reading “American Notes” From Charles Dickens’ about the awesome work that had been done with some deaf and blind children She died in 1921 from an unknown illness.

Arthur H. Keller
Helen’s Father, in the story there is not too much about him, but what can be known of him is that he is a captain who married Kate Adams (Helen’s Mother) and When they started living as a couple He owned a cotton plantation and was the editor of a weekly newspaper, He also was always taking care of his daughter, Helen liked a lot when he told some stories to her.

Mildred Keller
She was Helen’s sister when they both were young they had very good times together even that Mildred couldn’t understand Helen’s signs, Then they continued having an awesome familiar relationship, When Helen was going to the school she sent some letters to Mildred telling about how she was going at there and talking about some other stuff, They both where very close.

Martha Washington
She became friend with Helen at childhood, she could understand Helens signs, and they both loved mischief, they had a very good time together when Helen was young.

Mr. Anagnos
He was the director of Perkins institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind people, he was the one who sent Anne to teach Helen how to communicate, then when Helen’s learning process improved he wrote about her, Then Helen sent him a book she wrote as birthday present, He was very delighted by it and wanted to publish it but then he realized that book was wrote before so he got mad at Helen and lost the contact with her.

Mr. Gilman
He is the Principal of Cambridge School for Young Ladies, where Helen studied as a normal girl, He also offered Mildred to study in his School, and He was the one who applied the examination test to Helen and sent his work.

Dr. Alexander Graham Bell
Helen was sent to him for having his blindness attended then he told her to her to write to Mr. Anagnos for her to have a special attention


She was born on 27 June 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabam
She was the child of Captain Auther H. Keller
At the age of 19 month little Helen was caught by a fever which caused her to be deaf and blind. A shake of head for NO, a nod for YES was her communicate.
The only word she could remember was “Water”, this was her only word in her world at that time. Helen’s parents were able to find Alexander Graham Bell and with his help they were able to find a way to educate little Helen. Helen soon showed that she is capable and learned quickly.

Primarily her teacher was Ms. Anne Sullivan.
Ms. Anne Sullivan was a light to Helen’s lonely and dark life. First word she learned was doll. At the age of ten Helen had mastered Braille as well as the manual alphabet and even learned to use the typewriter. When she realized what water means she rejoiced.

Ms. Sullivan used cardboard slips having raised letters to teach her words. In 1896 – Entered Cambridge College for Young Ladies. On 28 June 1904 Helen graduated from Radcliffe College earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1964 awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, by President Lyndon Johnson. In 1919 Helen starred in a movie on her life. But it was a failure financially. But that movie led to a Vaudeville tour for four years. October, 1935 her dearest friend, her teacher died. During the second world war she visited disabled soldiers. Helen retires from public life In October1961 Helen suffered the first of a series of strokes, and her public life was to draw to a close. On June 1, 1968, at Arcan Ridge, Helen Keller died peacefully in her sleep.

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Helen Keller Summary of “The Story of My Life”. (2016, Oct 31). Retrieved from


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