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The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 18

Helen describes her entry into Cambridge School for Ladies where she faced the challenge of keeping up with normal students. She talks about the efforts of Miss Sullivan and Frau Gote to help her. Her success in the examinations encouraged her to study further.

This chapter records Helen’s entry into the Cambridge School for Ladies, a school for children without disabilities, where she faced the challenge of having to keep up with normal students. Her instructors had no experience in teaching special pupils like her and her only means of conversing with them was by reading their lips.

She faced the challenge bravely with the assistance of Miss Sullivan, who painstakingly decoded the lessons to her, through her fingers. She also received support from Frau Gote, who was able to help her because of her knowledge of the finger alphabet. Another teacher, Mr Gilman, also helped her by simplifying the lessons for her. Apart from the problems associated with learning with normal children, Helen quite enjoyed interacting with other girls of her age.

She played games with them, went on long walks and even discussed studies with them. Her sister Mildred also joined the school, making Helen even happier. The chapter also records how Helen appeared for the exams, the challenges she faced and how she overcame them. Her success in the examinations gave her encouragement to carry on her studies further.

The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 18 Questions and Answers

Question 1.
Why did Helen not want to go to Wellesley?
Helen did not want to go to Wellesley as only girls studied there.

Question 2.
What was the effect of her decision on the people in her life?
The people in Helen’s life, felt it was going to be difficult for her to study in college alongside people who could see and hear.

Question 3.
How did Helen plan to overcome her handicap while studying in college?
To help Helen with the lectures, she planned to have Miss Sullivan attend the classes with her and interpret the instructions given to her.

Question 4.
What were the advantages that Helen had over the other students?
Helen had a good command over English, and a good start in French, Latin and German.

Question 5.
What were the drawbacks that Helen faced in college, and how did she overcome them?
The first problem Helen faced was that Miss Sullivan could not spell everything on her hand and she required books. However, it was difficult to have all the textbooks embossed in a short while. Helen thus had to copy Latin into Braille. Moreover, it took the teachers a little time to understand her speech. They could then correct her mistakes. She then wrote all her compositions and translations on a typewriter.

Question 6.
Who were Frau Gote and Mr Gilman? How did they help Helen?
Frau Gote and Mr Gilman were teachers at Cambridge School of Ladies. They were the only two teachers in the school who learned the finger alphabet and were able to instruct Helen. Mr Gilman read the lessons and explained various topics in a simplified manner. Similarly, Frau Gote spelled out her instructions in the special classes she gave Helen twice a week.

Question 7.
How did Helen enjoy herself at the Cambridge School with the other girls?
For the first time in her life, Helen interacted with girls of her age. She enjoyed herself thoroughly, playing games like the blind man’s buff, playing in the snow, going on long walks and discussing studies with them.

Question 8.
What made her stay in Cambridge an even happier experience after Christmas?
Helen’s sister Mildred joined the same school as Helen, and that made it one of the happiest times of her life.

Question 9.
What method was used to examine Helen?
First of all, she was given a number by which she was identified. Then Mr Gilman read the papers to her sentence by sentence, while Helen repeated the words aloud to make sure that she had understood him perfectly. She then typed out her answers on a typewriter. Mr Gilman spelled out what she had written and Helen made changes as she thought necessary, while Mr Gilman inserted the changes. Finally, he sent her written work to the examiners, with a letter certifying that Helen, i.e., candidate 233, had written the papers.

Question 10.
What helped her before her Latin examination?
On the day of her Latin exam, Helen’s teacher informed her that she had passed her German exam satisfactorily; this had a very positive effect on her. She felt motivated to do well in the Latin paper as well.