The Story of My Life Summary by Helen Keller Chapter 1 to 23

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The Story of My Life Summary: The story is an inspirational account of the world of a blind and deaf girl, and how she triumphs over her disabilities, going to school and college, facing exams and learning to enjoy the simple things in life. Some of her concerns are common to all young people of her age, but other concerns arose exclusively out of her desire to triumph over her disabilities. The book shows us the perception of a person who has been denied sight and sound and struggles to understand the world and interact with those around her. It also shows us how normal people can help to aid those with disabilities.

Helen Adams Keller was born on 27 June 1880, in the north-west Alabama city of Tuscumbia. Her father was a retired confederate army captain and editor of a local newspaper The North Alabamian, while her mother, Kate, was an educated young woman from Memphis. Helen had a younger brother, Phillips Brooks and a sister, Mildred.

When Helen was nineteen months old, she was afflicted by an unknown illness, possibly scarlet fever or meningitis, which left her deaf and blind. Helen, who was an extremely intelligent child, tried to understand her surroundings through touch, smell and taste; and by the age of seven, Helen had developed nearly sixty hand gestures to communicate with her parents and ask for things.

However, she was often frustrated by her inability to express herself. With the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen learned the manual alphabet and started communicating by finger spelling. Within a few months of working with Anne, Helen’s vocabulary increased to hundreds of words and simple sentences. Anne also taught Helen how to read braille and raised type, and to print block letters. By the age of nine, Helen began to learn to speak and read lips.

Helen attended Perkins School for the Blind for four years. She then spent a year at the Cambridge School for Young Ladies to prepare for Radcliffe College. In 1904, she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe and became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

While in college, Keller undertook an essay assignment that eventually took the shape of her autobiography The Story of My Life in 1903. In this book, Helen chronicled her education and the first twenty-three years with her teacher and friend, Anne Sullivan providing supplementary accounts of the teaching process. The autobiography went on to become an almost unparalleled bestseller in multiple languages and laid the foundation of Keller’s literary career.

Chapter Wise Summary of Novel The Story of My Life by Helen Keller Chapter 1 to 23

The Story of My Life Summary Questions and Answers

Question 1.
What does Helen mean by saying that “the shadows of the prison house are on the rest.. “?
The expression means that Helen is not able to remember a large part of her childhood.

Question 2.
When and where was Helen born?
Helen was born on 27 June 1880 in Tuscumbia, a town in northern Alabama.

Question 3.
What does Helen mean when she makes the statement, “it is true there is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors and no slave who has not had a king among his”?
The author means that if one researches one’s lineage, the person will find all kinds of people who were their ancestors. That is, no family can have only powerful and rich people as their ancestors.

Question 4.
Who were Caspar Keller, Arthur H Keller and Kate Adams?
Caspar was Helen’s grandfather, Arthur was her father and Kate her mother.

Question 5.
How do we know that the house in which Helen lived was very beautiful?
Though the house was not very big, it was completely covered with vines, climbing roses and honeysuckle.
From the garden, it looked like an arbour. The porch of the house was covered by a screen of yellow roses and southern smilax and it was always buzzing with hummingbirds and bees.

Question 6.
How did Helen enjoy the beauties of her garden in spite of her blindness?
Helen would feel the hedges and find different flowers by her sense of smell. She would find comfort in hiding her face in the cool leaves and grass. She wandered in the garden touching, feeling and smelling the various flowers, bushes and trees and could identify them accurately.

Question 7.
What does Helen, want to express through the statement “I came, I saw, I conquered”?
Helen wants to express the fact that she was a much loved child especially as she was the first born in the family.

Question 8.
How did Helen get her name?
Helen’s father had wanted to name her Mildred Campbell after an ancestor whom he had a high regard for, while her mother wanted to name her after her mother, whose maiden name was Helen Everett. However, by the time they reached the church for the ceremony, her father lost the name and when the minister asked him, he gave the name Helen Adams.

Question 9.
Give two examples to show that Helen was an intelligent baby.
When she was six months old, Helen could say “How d’ye?” and one day she started saying “Tea” very clearly.
Even after her illness, she could recollect many of the words that she had learnt as a baby, like “water”.

Question 10.
What motivated Helen to take her first steps as a baby?
One day, when Helen’s mother was giving her a bath, she was attracted by the flickering shadows of the leaves that were reflected on the bathroom floor. She got up from her mother’s lap and walked towards the reflection to try and catch it.

Question 11.
Why does Helen call February a dreary month?
It was the month in which Helen was struck by an illness that left her deaf and blind. For her, it was a nightmarish experience.

Question 12.
For how long had Helen been able to see and hear?
Helen was able to see and hear for the first 19 months of her life.