“The Story of My Life” By Helen Keller

Selflessness is one of the answers to global, personal and internal problems. Being selfless means to be someone who gives more love, puts more effort and cares more about others than they can ever do for themselves. There are those who give because they have. Then there are also those who give even though they don’t have a lot and they give out of love, passion and genuine care. I think giving to someone else even though you have nothing to spare is one of the most beautiful decisions that are made in the course of life.

Yes, some are born with everything in their hands, some are born with nothing, and then there are some who are given all that they need to get what they want. Some people are born with all the things they need and life eventually falls in place for them but there are also some people who are given something and robbed of something and they have to struggle for almost everything they want. There are people who are born with disabilities and there are those who are born completely fine but life happens and drops by a parcel of disabilities. Whichever way it must be, it is completely fine to be disabled because it is my personal experience that when God takes something away from you, He replaces it with something better.

The Author, Plot and More Information

The Story of My Life is a phenomenal autobiography written by the renowned deaf-blind political activist, author and lecturer, Helen Keller. The following information is taken from Helen Keller International and from her own autobiography. Helen Adams Keller was born on 27th June 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. When she was only 2 years old, in 1882 she lost her eyesight and her hearing. 5 years later in 1887, Anne Sullivan was hired by Helen’s parents as a tutor for her. Anne Sullivan taught Helen that everything around her has a certain name, then she spelt the names of objects on her hands, taught her sign language, later how to read and write with the aid of the Braille system, then the touch-lip read and how to speak by the vibrations in one’s throat.

Slowly Helen progressed and became better and better at numerous things. She learned about the unknown and surpassed her disabilities. There was literally and metaphorically nothing that could stop her from pursuing what she wanted despite her limitations. Innumerable people helped and aided her through her journey of life and soon in 1900, she matriculated from the Radcliffe College. Her first autobiography, The Story of My Life was published in 1903. She continued her struggle in helping those with other disabilities. In 1915 she co-founded an organization which is now known as Helen Keller International to first help veterans blinded in combat. Later it extended its hands of support and care for the blind, deaf and malnutritioned around the world.

In 1920 she helped in finding ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and in 1924 she joined the American Foundation for the Blind. Sadly on 1st June 1968 Helen Keller departed from this universe tranquilly in her home in Connecticut. Despite having hearing and sight disorders she was given a lot of potential, courage, passion and the ambition to help others and to provide for others. Among her numerous contributions and support, her achievements include the first deaf-blind person to have a Bachelor of Arts degree. She even won an Oscar for a documentary about her life and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

– Helen Keller

Image result for helen keller
Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia

Helen Keller had the potential to conquer lands unknown, voids unfelt and dreams unseen. Here are a list of some of the renowned works that she has written:

  • The World I Live In
  • The Story of My Life
  • Light In My Darkness
  • Optimism
  • Teacher: Anne Sullivan Macy
  • My Religion
  • How I Would Help the World
  • The Open Door
  • The Song of the Stone Wall

The Story of My Life is an autobiography of Helen Keller written by her own self and published in 1903. Now there isn’t a lot to say about the synopsis or the plot of the story because it is about Helen Keller’s own life and there is no way better than to read the book itself. However here’s a little insight. In the first three paragraphs of this heading, I have given you a brief information about her life that you have probably read. As you know she was only 2 years old when she lost her eyesight and her hearing permanently. Thus throughout her life she surpassed her limits, surpassed the potential of a hearing and seeing human and also helped those who had disabilities and disorders as well.

Her life is one of the greatest examples of overcoming your boundaries and of becoming the Ruler of your own Kingdom. There was nothing that could stop her from seeing more than those who had sight and listening clearer than those who had hearing. The autobiography itself is her itinerary of her problems in life and her gratitude to those who helped her through her difficulties and differences. Helen Keller was the woman who saw everything even though she had no vision, one who could describe scenes in the most aesthetically beautiful ways and know the sounds that all matter makes even though she was robbed of hearing. She was as said by Winston Churchill, “the greatest woman of our age”.

My Review and Experience Regarding the Autobiography

Honestly, this autobiography was one of the most pleasant experiences that I’ve ever had, taking role in someone else’s life. Autobiographies have always astounded me in the most unexpected ways for you never know how different yet similar you might feel reading about someone’s life for there are always things that are new to you, things that you learn and things that you can relate to because even if the person is different, the ideology of the record of living life is the same.

I haven’t encountered a lot of disabled people but I have had a temporary disability once in my life and somehow I know the feeling of being left out but remember that it was only temporary for me. Reading about someone who has had two huge disabilities for almost all of her life is a journey that everyone needs to embark on. While reading this book, the one thing that kept repeating itself in my mind like a headline on a news channel was the fact that the words that I could see, read and somehow hear being murmured softly in my ears were words of wisdom written by spmeone who couldn’t see or hear. This fact till this day cannot by ingested in the fibres of my brain and it never will not becuse I look down upon those who have disabilities but because it amazes me to see how wise and intelligent they are.

Another beneficial thing that this book gave me an insight about, is that there are so many people in this world that have similar disabilities. My heart truly opened to those people and I couldn’t refrain from thinking about it again and again. It taught me about things that are still a reality and that we often forget about them in the course of our life. My eyes were laid upon people who have made life-changing contributions to causes like these for example Mr. Alexander Graham Bell and numerous others.

This book contains everything, from long poetic imagery to the harsh reality of the world. Although the descriptions do get tedious at times but their essence is everlasting. Another feature about this book is that it is not at all lengthy. It is like only a hundred pages, easily a one day read but it will be a day full of lessons for the reader. Another great element of the book was the selflessness and gratitude of the author and her humility. Helen Keller is truly an innovative idol to be inspired from and to be able to read her life story is a privilege that I shall never take for granted.

My Favourite Lines From the Book

Here are a few lines from the autobiography The Story of My Life by Helen Keller that have stayed with me:

(P.S. All of these quotes/lines ARE from The Story of My Life and they are written by Helen Keller, I was just too lazy to write it besides every line.)

  • “For, after all, everyone who wishes to gain true knowledge must climb the Hill Difficulty alone, and since there is no royal road to the summit, I must zigzag it in my own way. I slip back many times, I fall, I stand still, I run against the edge of hidden obstacles, I lose my temper and find it again and keep it better, I trudge on, I gain a little, I feel encouraged, I get more eager and climb higher and begin to see the widening horizon. Every struggle is a victory.”
  • “The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time. I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent.”
  • “In a word, literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book-friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.”
  • “When one door of happiness closes another opens but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one the one which has opened for us.”
  • “Trying to write is very much like trying to put a Chinese puzzle together. We have a pattern in mind which we wish to work out in words; but the words will not fit the spaces, or, if they do, they will not match the design.”
  • “What does this beauty or music mean to you? You cannot see the waves rolling up the beach or hear their roar. What do they mean to you?’ In the most evident sense they mean everything. I cannot fathom or define their meaning any more than I can fathom or define love or religion or goodness.”

 

“I do not mean to object to a thorough knowledge of the famous works we read. I object only to the interminable comments and bewildering criticisms that teach but one thing: there are as many opinions as there are men.”

– Helen Keller from The Story of My Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s