This post is re posted for the April blogging A-Z 2018. I have chosen the theme
Books and Authors for this year.
H – Hellen Keller
I have read the book - The Story of My Life by Helen Keller and I am glad to repost this as I felt it fitting for the theme I have chosen.Born in a small town of Tuscumbia in Alabama, and stricken with an illness at a early age- she lost her sight and hearing. she lived in the dark, angry and frustrated, and everything change the moment Anne Sullivan, her teacher came into her life.
The whole book Hellen keeps referring to her teacher Anne Sullivan, who becomes her greatest source of support and strength. I was in awe with her teacher as she takes the effort to help Helen learn and uses her own teaching methods to learn, by making her touch, feel, spell out the letters in her hand enabling her to understand that everything had a name and gradually taught her to read;
I am sure it would have been such a challenge.
I marvel at Helen Keller as to how she overcame every problem she faced in the process of learning, understanding and brilliantly managed to read the entire book. Later on she travels from the small town of Alabama to Boston and joins the Perkins Institute of Blind and opens herself to the new environment, makes friends and visits places.
Once she learns to read, she takes on newer challenges in studying subjects like history, Latin, French, German and arithmetic which for me is mind blowing – and pushes me to think “what am I doing in life with no disability”J
Helen Keller story is truly inspiring and it not only challenges you to introspect but also broadens your outlook to see how much potential a person has and to constantly strive to rise above all limitations and strive for excellence.
Heller Keller’s story is a great example of how with determination and perseverance, one can surpass and conquer every hurdle in life… I enjoyed reading about how she loved nature; going for walks sharpening her senses of being touched and constantly seeking answers from her teacher Annie, questioning in order to learn about nature. The favourite amusement of her was sailing, she participates in the regatta in the Northwest Arm, in which the boats from the different warships were engaged.
The quest for travel, meeting people, making friends is amazing – I loved reading about the friendship she made with trees, she calls them tree friends, one of them a splendid oak was the pride of her heartJ she mentions about the other trees that are more approachable than the great oak – a linden that grew in the dooryard at Red farm. The sorrow felt in her heart when after a thunderstorm the linden had a mighty fall. Her favourite past time was to play with the pet and take the dog for walk, or a ride and even a sail; she made friends with dogs and also was very friendly with children.
What I admire the most is that she tried her best to live like anyone else without making a fuss about her problems, and explored ways to enjoy life… she went to theatres met actors and actresses.
A few excerpts from her book:
“It seems to me that there is in each of us a capacity to comprehend the impressions and emotions which have been experienced by mankind from the beginning. Each individual has a subconscious memory of the green earth and murmuring waters, and blindness and deafness cannot rob him of this gift from past generations. This inherited capacity is a sort of sixth sense – a should sense which sees, hears, feels, all in one.” Page 121 para 2
“The sun and the air are God’s free gifts to all, we say, but are they so? In younger city’s dingy alleys, the sun shines not, and the air is foul. Oh, man, how dost thou forget and obstruct thy brother man and say, “give us this day our daily bread” when he has none..”page 123
Helen goes on to write a story, named “Frost King” and sends it as a gift to the Perkin’s Institute and she is accused of plagiarism, as there was a book on “Frost Fairies by another author Ms Margret Canby. Helen was brought before the court and cross questioned. Helen suffers humiliation and weeps and feels her spirit broken. We find that the author herself writes to Helen stating that someday “Some day you will write a great story from your own head”.
Helen was comforted by her teacher Annie and encouraged to write and thus slowly she gained back her confidence. I attribute the success of Helen Keller to her teacher who persistently stood by her and walked along with her in the journey of life, enabling, empowering Helen to question everything and strive to towards the impossible. As everyone around her thought that it would be impossible for Helen to speak… … and she did surprised herself and those around by attempting to speak few words.
Some more excerpts from her book:
“There is joy in self forgetfulness” so I try to make the light in other’s eyes my sun, the music in other’s ears my symphony, the smile on other’s lips my happiness” page 129
“There are red letter days in our lives, when we meet people who thrill us like a fine poem, people whose handshake is brimful of unspoken sympathy, and whose sweet, rich natures impart to our eager, impatient spirit a wonderful restfulness which in its essence is divine. The perplexities, irritations and worries that have absorbed us pass like unpleasant dreams, and we wake to see with new eyes and hear with new ears the beauty and harmony of Gods real world” page 130
I loved the way the story ends; she acknowledges her friends who she feels have made the story of her life “In thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation. Page138
The rest of the pages are filled with beautiful and inspiring letters she has written to various people – all of them who she has in some way met, interacted and learnt so much. The book is 272 pages and out which 134 is the letters written by her, almost all the letters have a personal touch, speaks volumes of her love for her teacher, expressing gratitude to so many people in her life and the desire and compassion she has for visually impaired kids.
It’s worth reading this book and I am glad that I could get hold of this book, I went to pick my daughters text book and I found this book on the shelf and felt drawn; so I picked it up and have no regrets for buying this lovely book. The price is Rs 195, it’s an Indian print and easy to read.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision” Helen Keller
Thanks for reading my post, appreciate you, would love to hear your comments J
Be Blessed! Be Happy!