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The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 13
Helen talks about her attempts to speak. She was inspired by Ragnhild Kaata, a deaf and blind girl in Norway who had been taught to speak.
This chapter records Helen’s attempts at learning to speak. There was a strong impulse to utter audible sounds within her and she was inordinately pleased with anything that made a noise. She was inspired by the story of Ragnhild Kaata, a deaf and blind girl in Norway who had actually been taught to speak.
Helen learnt the elements of speech from Miss Sarah Fuller and uttered her first words with her help. Helen felt as if her soul had come out of bondage. She showed a strong determination and eagerness to show off her new skills to her family. Her joy knew no bounds when she felt people responding to her speech.
She practiced harder even when discouragement and weariness cast her down, but what spurred her on was the thought of revealing her new ability to her loved ones. Helen also describes the delighted surprise of her family at her new achievement.
The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 13 Questions and Answers
How did Helen learn to ‘hear’ with her fingers?
Helen would place her fingers lightly on the lips of the speaker and copy the movement. She would feel the purring of the cat and the barking of the dog with her fingers.
Why did Helen make sounds and try to copy others?
Helen tried to copy the sounds of others around her because she felt a deep need to exercise her vocal chords.
Why was Helen filled with eagerness after hearing the story of Ragnhild Kaata?
Ragnhild Kaata was a deaf and blind girl in Norway who had been taught to speak. On hearing about her, Helen resolved not to rest till she too learnt to speak.
Why is 26 March 1890 a date Helen would never forget?
26 March 1890 held deep significance for Helen as she started learning how to speak at the Horace Mann School from the principal, Miss Sarah Fuller.
How did Miss Fuller teach Helen?
Miss Fuller passed Helen’s hand lightly over her face and made her feel the position of her tongue and lips as she made a sound. Helen imitated every motion and in an hour learnt six elements of speech.
What did her efforts to learn to speak reveal about Helen’s character?
Helen’s tryst with learning to speak reveals her determination as she put in all her effort to overcome her disability.
How did Helen motivate, herself to learn?
Helen motivated herself by thinking about her sister’s delight at her achievement and by repeating to herself the statement, “I am not dumb now.”
Why was Helen’s father quiet when he came to receive her at the station?
Helen’s father’s joy at hearing her speak was so great that he could not speak himself. He expressed his delight through silence.