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The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

The Story of My Life (1903)

by Helen Keller, Candace Ward (Editor)

Other authors: Robert Russell (Introduction), Anne Mansfield Sullivan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (34)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
The autobiography of Helen Keller, written when she was still quite young, as she had just finished college. It is a fascinating thing to even contemplate what a brilliant mind she had despite the obvious obstacles that were set in her way at such an early age. My greatest admiration goes to Miss Sullivan, without whom Helen Keller's mind would undoubtedly remained locked in her disabled body.

Miss Keller describes things so vividly it is difficult to remember that she has not seen nor heard any of the things with which she has become acquainted by her senses of touch, taste and smell or her extensive reading. Throughout the reading you simply keep saying to yourself, "what a remarkable woman." Were the subject of this book not so fascinating, I doubt it would hold the interest as acutely as it does. I was amazed at the number of noted people who took an interest and had a direct impact on her life. Alexander Graham Bell being one of the key figures who enabled her to find a way out into the world and help to foster her education.

Well worth reading, with a solid 3.5 star rating. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
This was incredibly disappointing...more like a text book than a memoir. ( )
  SadieBabie | Jun 23, 2018 |
I remember reading this 10 years ago, such is the lasting impression of this feisty girl and dedicated teacher. The book was not easy to get into but the outcome is nothing short of a miracle. ( )
  paperdust | Jan 18, 2018 |
Earlier this year, Andrew was heading to pick up Jefferson in Chicago, and wanted a book to entertain him in the car on the way home. I handed him a children's biography of Helen Heller that I had loved as a child. Evidently Jefferson loved it, too. So for our Christmas road-trip I was sure to include a biography of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, also from my childhood, in my bag of tricks. These things, combined with coming across references to Helen Keller as a progressive icon in her adult life, made me grab this memoir for my stack of prospective New Year's Eve reads.

As it turns out, Keller wrote this autobiography at the age of 22, so it didn't get me any closer to understanding her activism in later life. But this slim book is still remarkable for the joy in life that leaks through the print, and then conversely her intensely introspective self-criticism for limitations that I feel NEARLY EVER OTHER HUMAN BEING HAD AT HER AGE.

I am happy to have read it and will be glad to share it with Jefferson, but I think I'll wait a few years, so the descriptions of her prep school and college studies will be more relatable. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
An amazing autobiography by Helen Keller. An illness makes her both deaf and blind as a little child. With the help of an untiring and patient teacher she learns how to communicate with the outer world through sign language signed into her hand, and later she learns to read and even reaches the university.

What struck me most was the joyous spirit she possesses. Her wonder and appreciation of nature, friends, art, litterature and just the exitement of the everyday events like smelling a flower or touching a dog. She enjoys going to the museum and let her hand grace the sculptures:

I sometimes wonder if the hand is not more sensitive to the beauties of sculpture than the eye. I should think the wonderful rhythmical flow of lines and curves could be more subtly felt than seen. Be this as it may, I know that I can feel the heartthrobs of the ancient Greeks in their marble gods and goddesses.

I found her determination and joy in the everyday life very refreshing and inspiring, despite of her limitations and sorrow.

Is it not true, then, that my life with all its limitations touches at many points the life of the World Beautiful? Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

Sometimes, it is true, a sense of isolation enfolds me like a cold mist as I sit alone and wait at life’s shut gate. Beyond there is light, and music, and sweet companionship; but I may not enter. Fate, silent, pitiless, bars the way…. Silence sits immense upon my soul. Then comes hope with a gentle smile and whispers, “There is joy in selfforgetfulness”. So I try to make the light in others’ eyes my sun, the music in others’ ears my symphony, the smile on others’ lips my happiness.
( )
2 vote ctpress | Aug 1, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Kellerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ward, CandaceEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Russell, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sullivan, Anne Mansfieldsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Epstein, JosephContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roosevelt, EleanorForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Who has taught the deaf to speak
and enabled the listening ear to
hear speech from the Atlantic to the Rockies,

This Story of My Life.
First words
It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life.
The thought that my dear Heavenly Father is always near, giving me abundantly of all those things, which truly enrich life and make it sweet and beautiful, makes every deprivation seem of little moment compared with the countless blessings I enjoy.
Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten - a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
ISBN: 0486292495 9780486292496
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
This is Helen Keller's account of her triumph over deafness and blindness.
This story has become a symbol of hope for people all over the world. This book - published when Helen Keller was 22 - portrays the wild child who is locked in the dark and silent prison of her own body. 

With an extraordinary sense of immediacy, Keller reveals her frustrations and rage, and takes the reader on the unforgettable journey of her education and breakthroughs into the world of communication. We see Keller as she finally realizes that her teacher's finger-spelled letters mean "water."  Suddenly, "that living word awakened my soul. gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!"
An unparalleled chronicle of courage, The Story of My Life
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553213873, Mass Market Paperback)

Helen Keller would not be bound by conditions. Rendered deaf and blind at 19 months by scarlet fever, she learned to read (in several languages) and even speak, eventually graduating with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, where as a student she wrote The Story of My Life. That she accomplished all of this in an age when few women attended college and the disabled were often relegated to the background, spoken of only in hushed tones, is remarkable. But Keller's many other achievements are impressive by any standard: she authored 13 books, wrote countless articles, and devoted her life to social reform. An active and effective suffragist, pacifist, and socialist (the latter association earned her an FBI file), she lectured on behalf of disabled people everywhere. She also helped start several foundations that continue to improve the lives of the deaf and blind around the world.

As a young girl Keller was obstinate, prone to fits of violence, and seething with rage at her inability to express herself. But at the age of 7 this wild child was transformed when, at the urging of Alexander Graham Bell, Anne Sullivan became her teacher, an event she declares "the most important day I remember in all my life." (Sullivan herself had once been blind, but partially recovered her sight after a series of operations.) In a memorable passage, Keller writes of the day "Teacher" led her to a stream and repeatedly spelled out the letters w-a-t-e-r on one of her hands while pouring water over the other. This method proved a revelation: "That living world awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away." And, indeed, most of them were.

In her lovingly crafted and deeply perceptive autobiography, Keller's joyous spirit is most vividly expressed in her connection to nature:

Indeed, everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom, had a part in my education.... Few know what joy it is to feel the roses pressing softly into the hand, or the beautiful motion of the lilies as they sway in the morning breeze. Sometimes I caught an insect in the flower I was plucking, and I felt the faint noise of a pair of wings rubbed together in a sudden terror....

The idea of feeling rather than hearing a sound, or of admiring a flower's motion rather than its color, evokes a strong visceral sensation in the reader, giving The Story of My Life a subtle power and beauty. Keller's celebration of discovery becomes our own. In the end, this blind and deaf woman succeeds in sharpening our eyes and ears to the beauty of the world. --Shawn Carkonen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:58 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

An autobiography of Helen Keller, written while she was a young woman, in which she tells of her early life, her relationship with her teacher Anne Sullivan, and her struggles to triumph over blindness and deafness.

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393057445, 0393325687

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400101298, 1400108934

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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