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The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 3
Helen talks about her struggles to express herself which often led to frustration and emotional breakdown. She also reveals her parent’s struggle to find a suitable tutor. She describes a journey by train to an oculist in Baltimore and how a friendship developed with the conductor. She had a good time on the train where she met Dr Alexander Graham Bell. She also met with Mr Anagnos of Perkins Institution, who helped the family by sending Miss Sullivan, a competent teacher, to them.
This chapter discusses the challenges faced by Helen’s parents before the arrival of Miss Sullivan. They found it difficult to accept Helen’s frustration and emotional breakdowns in her attempts to express herself. Since the school for the blind was far from where they lived and that nobody would come to a place like Tuscumbia to teach a deaf and blind child, the people around her expressed doubts whether she could be taught. It was when Helen was six years old that her father heard of a renowned oculist in Baltimore.
Her parents decided to take her to Baltimore to consult the oculist to see whether anything could be done to relieve her of her blindness. However, the oculist could not help them. Helen enjoyed the journey, making friends with the conductor, who taught her how to punch holes in a piece of cardboard and a lady who gave her a box of shells. There is also a description of a doll gifted to Helen by her aunt.
Helen was distressed by the doll, as it had no eyes. She did not rest until a pair of beads was fixed on it instead. The chapter then describes a meeting with Dr Alexander Graham Bell whom she loved at once taking to the tenderness and sympathy with which he held her, and later a meeting with Mr Anagnos of Perkins Institution, Boston, who helped the family by sending Miss Sullivan to them.
The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 3 Questions and Answers
What was the reason for Helen’s emotional outbursts? How did it affect her parents?
Helen’s inability to express herself to those around her frustrated Helen so much so that she would break down in tears and find consolation in her mother’s arms. Her parents were anxious to find someone who would be able to help their daughter communicate and express herself.
Why did the family decide to travel to Baltimore?
Helen, along with her family, travelled to Baltimore to meet an oculist called Dr Chisholm in the hope of finding out whether he could help Helen regain her eyesight.
Why was Helen disturbed with the doll that her aunt gifted her?
The doll that Helen’s aunt gave her did not have eyes. This disturbed Helen as she was anxious for it to have eyes.
Why does Helen describe her meeting with Dr Bell as a “light at the end of a tunnel”?
For Helen, the meeting with Dr Bell was full of hope because he sympathised with her condition and informed her parents about the institute from where a suitable tutor for Helen could be found.
Why did Mr Anangos prove to be godsend for Helen?
Mr Anangos was the director of the Perkins Institution, which had done a lot of work for the benefit of blind people. He helped Helen by recommending Miss Sullivan as a teacher for her.
Why does Helen make references to Egypt and Mount Sinai?
By making this reference, the author alludes to the story from the Bible about Moses who led the Hebrews from Egypt and had a vision of the divine at Mount Sinai. Similarly, for Helen and her family, their meeting with Dr Bell at Washington followed by their communication with Mr Anangos seemed to be touched by the divine. They were finally able to find a suitable teacher for Helen who helped her come out of the dark world that she had been confined to since her illness.