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The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 19

Helen writes about the problems faced in the second year at Cambridge School. Due to differences between Mr Gilman and Miss Sullivan, Helen and Mildred were removed from the school. She talks about the challenges she faced in geometry and algebra.

In this chapter, Helen talks about the problems that she faced in the second year at the Cambridge School. She terms these problems as ‘unforseen difficulties’. These included lack of embossed books, important apparatus etc. She also records the disadvantages of being taught in a large class. She felt sorry about the pressure on Miss Sullivan to act as a go-between and fill in the gaps in Helen’s studies. In the meantime, Mr Gilman suggested that Helen should complete the course over five years instead of the three years taken by other students. However, Helen did not want to do so.

This point led to differences between Mr Gilman and Miss Sullivan, as a result of which both Helen and Mildred were removed from school by their mother. Helen continued studies under Mr Keith, a mathematician at Wrentham. She received individual lessons and thrived on them. For the first time in her life, she understood mathematics. She appeared for her examinations, writing in Braille. Though Braille worked well enough in other branches of mathematics, but difficulties arose in geometry and algebra. She faced a great challenge while using symbols in geometry and algebra.

The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 19 Questions and Answers

Question 1.
What were the difficulties that Helen faced in the second year at the school?
Firstly, the books Helen needed were not embossed in time before her classes started. Secondly, the number of students in the class was very large and the instructors were unable to give her individual attention. Moreover, she found algebra and geometry difficult to follow and problems in physics difficult to solve till they brought in a Braille writer.

Question 2.
How did Helen deal with these problems?
Helen’s problems became easier when her embossed books arrived. In addition, she started putting in greater effort to overcome her problems.

Question 3.
“I was beginning to overcome these difficulties when an event occurred which changed everything.” What event is Helen referring to?
Helen, here, is referring to Mr Gilman’s opinion that Helen was being forced to study too hard and that she should remain in his school for three more years. However, Helen, herself, was keen to pass with the other girls in her batch. The problem escalated into a major disagreement between Mr Gilmore and Miss Sullivan. Finally Helen and her sister Mildred left the school and started tuition under a private tutor, Mr Keith, from Cambridge.

Question 4.
How did Helen learn algebra and geometry?
Mr Keith taught Helen algebra and geometry twice a week, along with Greek and Latin. He was very patient and took lot of pains to teach her. He repeated his lessons till Helen was able to understand the concepts.

Question 5.
Why were Helen and Mr Keith distressed before the algebra exam?
Helen used Braille to write her exams; but there were different versions of Braille. She was comfortable with English Braille, whereas the papers that were sent to her for practice were in American Braille, which she realised two days before her exams. Even though she tried hard to understand the symbols used in the version, she found it very confusing. Moreover, she could not see what she was typing which made solving algebra sums very hard. She was used to solving the sums in her mind and she found it hard to write in the exam papers.