David (Saewon) Park
17 April 2014
Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan
A stereotypical "hero" is someone with superpowers, such as the ability to fly or superhuman strength to save citizens from dangerous situations, is good looking, and flawless. However, a true hero is someone who, although flawed, can overcome his or her struggles in order to better his or her own life and others’ lives as well. They have a positive influence on people they come into contact with, and are able to enact change across society. History has shown that unexpected "heroes" have been able to challenge stereotypical views and enact economic, political, and social progress. A prime example is ...view middle of the document...
com). Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland during the Great Famine in the 1840s (Anne Sullivan, Biography.com). Her childhood was turbulent, as her father was addicted to alcohol and her mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis when Sullivan was still a young child. When Sullivan was only three years old, she contracted trachoma, a bacterial infection of the eyes that caused her to lose her vision progressively. Five years later, when Sullivan was eight years old, her mom died from tuberculosis (Anne Sullivan, Perkins.org). Shortly after her mother died, her dad abandoned Sullivan and her brother, Jimmie, to an orphanage called the Tewksbury Almshouse (Sullivan, Perkins.org). Jimmie also died from tuberculosis only three months after their arrival at the orphanage, and Anne was left to fend for herself (Anne Sullivan, Perkins.org). Because the Tewksbury Almshouse had poor living conditions, Sullivan began researching information about schools for the blind and resolved to earn a proper education at a place that could rescue her from the orphanage. She finally received that opportunity when members from a special committee visited the orphanage. Sullivan attended Perkins Schools for the blind in 1880 and there underwent a surgery to regain her sight. Although her sight improved dramatically, she had difficulty acclimating to a school environment. She lacked the social skills to succeed in her academics, but through her perseverance and hard work, she eventually adapted to the academic and social demands of school and was chosen as valedictorian of her graduating class of 1866. After graduation, Michael Anagnos, the director of Perkins School for Blind, helped Sullivan to get a job teaching a young girl, named Helen Keller, who suffered from blindness and deafness (Anne Sullivan, Biography.com).
Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on June 27, 1880 (Keller, Hki.org). She was the oldest of her two other sisters (Helen Keller, Biography.com). Her family was not wealthy by any means but they owned a cotton plantation that helped support the family and her father later became the publisher for a local newspaper, North Alabamian (Helen Keller, Biography.com). She contracted “brain fever”, which made her blind, deaf, and mute when she was just 19 months old (Helen Keller, Hki.org). When she was seven years old, she began working with Anne Sullivan (Helen Keller, Hki.org). In 1890, Helen Keller began speech classes at the Horace Mann School for the deaf in Boston (Helen Keller, Hki.org). Between 1894 and 1896, she attended to Wright-Humason School for the deaf in New York and moved on the Cambridge School for Young Ladies the following year (Helen Keller, Biography.com). Keller would later move on to become a famous author, world-traveler, and civil rights activist. (Nielsen, The Southern Ties of Helen Keller, 2007)
As successful as she became later on in life, Keller had to overcome numerous obstacles and hardships. She was blind,...