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The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 14

Helen describes the writing of the story ‘The Frost King ’. She sent the story to Mr Anagnos as a birthday gift. The story was published by him but a court of investigation found similarities between her story and another one and accused her of copying ideas. This incident had a deep impact on her life.

In this chapter, Helen describes the writing of the story ‘The Frost King’ and the appreciation she received from her family. Although she received great joy in composing the story, her joy was short-lived. She sent the story to Mr Anagnos as a birthday gift. Mr Anagnos was delighted with the story and published it in one of his institution’s reports.

However, this innocent gift backfired as people found similarities between Helen’s story and another story tided the ‘Frost Fairies’. Mr Anagnos was annoyed and believed that she had copied the story and sent it to him under her own name. He thought that Helen and Miss Sullivan had deliberately stolen the thoughts of others and imposed them on him to win his admiration.

He made Helen face a court of investigation composed of teachers and officers of the institution which passed a judgment implicating Helen of copying. Helen went into deep depression as a result and lost all confidence in herself. Mr Anagnos cut off all relations with her.

Helen ends this chapter by making clear that her intention in giving an account of the event was neither to defend herself nor to put the blame on anyone but simply because this particular incident was important in her life and education.

The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 14 Questions and Answers

Question 1.
Why does Helen say that the winter of 1892 was darkened by one cloud? What was this cloud?
In the winter of 1892, Helen’s story The Frost King was accused of being copied.

Question 2.
How did Helen write the story?
Helen wrote the story at home, immediately after she learnt to speak. One day, after her teacher had described the beauty of the foliage around Fern Quarry, Helen was motivated to write the story which seemed to flow out of her.

Question 3.
How did her teacher, family and friends react to the story?
Helen’s teacher, family and friends were all very impressed with the story and complimented her.

Question 4.
Why did Helen send the story to Mr Anagnos?
Helen sent her story to Mr Anagnos as a birthday gift.

Question 5.
Why does Helen write, “I little dreamed how cruelly I should pay for that birthday gift”?
Mr Anagnos published Helen’s story in one of the reports of the Perkins Institution. It was soon brought to his notice that the story was almost identical to another story called The Frost Fairies by Miss Margaret T Can by. Thus, Helen was accused of deliberately copying the story and sending it as her own. Helen was deeply troubled by the accusation and regretted sending her story.

Question 6.
What was Helen’s reaction to these allegations?
Helen was deeply distressed because she could not remember having read The Frost Fairies and could not understand how she came to write something so similar. She lost confidence in herself and it was a long time before she started writing again.

Question 7.
What does the behaviour of Mr Anagnos and the committee that examined her reveal about them?
The episode shows how the insensitive adults were quick to blame Helen without understanding the effect of their harsh behaviour on a little girl who was blind and deaf. In fact, Mr Anagnos cut off all relations with Helen, which hurt her deeply.

Question 8.
What was the role played by Perkins Institution in Helen’s life?
Perkins Institution was the first place where Helen interacted with people outside of her family circle. It was the first place where she saw a library which she could peruse to her heart’s content. Here she leamt the basics of lip reading and reading with the help of Braille. “Later, however, it was also the place that undermined her confidence and left a deep scar on her psyche, when she was criticised and unfairly condemned for supposedly copying a story and saying that it was written by her. This curbed her efforts at self-expression for a long time, and made her far more cautious when she interacted with people and institutions in the future.

Question 9.
Do you think Mr Anagnos’ behaviour towards Helen after the story was published was justified?
Mr Anagnos’ behaviour towards Helen seems to be unfair. To begin with, he was very supportive of her and when she sent him a story as his birthday gift, he was very pleased. He was the one who sent the story for publication. However, when it came to light that the story was very similar to another existing story, he changed his attitude almost overnight. He could have clarified the matter and explained that the story was not to be treated as a copied one, but as the triumph of their efforts in enabling a young blind girl to read and write.

Instead, he refused to be associated with her, as though he was trying to distance himself and hide the fact that he had sent it for publication. Perhaps he did this out of consideration of his own position within the institute, but it was certainly very unjust towards Helen. As a result of his harsh behaviour, she was made the victim, her confidence was shattered and it was a long time before she could bring herself to write again. Apart from stalling her growth, Mr Anagnos also exposed the hypocrisy of the institute, which was supposed to help disabled people, but was completely insensitive to the pain and mental anguish that they caused Helen.