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Helen Keller Essay

1762 words - 7 pages

Helen Keller is known around the world as a face of courage, knowledge, and the bravery to face overwhelming odds. She devoted her life to bettering the education of those people with handicaps. Through her life's work she made it easier for those suffering from a handicap or a disability to be educated, and live the closest thing that is possible to a normal life. Without her life's work, today 100s of people would be without education, jobs, and a way to support their families.Helen Keller early life was filled with lots of challenges, but she faced them with courage. On June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama Helen was born. She was the daughter of Captain Arthur H. and Kate Adams Keller. Arthur her father, had fought with the Confederate Army at Vicksburg and was periodically a U.S. Marshall. He also helped support his family by editing the local weekly newspaper. Kate her mother, was Arthur's second wife and had been raised in the social circles of Memphis. She was some twenty years younger then her husband. Together Kate and Arthur owned a cotton plantation. They were a well-to-do, upper middle class family.Helen was born a normal baby and lived her first eighteen months just like any other child would have done, but at the age of nineteen months she was stricken with a severe illness which left her blind and deaf. Being blind and deaf at such a young age also in turn made her mute. This made it nearly impossible to educate young Helen. She remained deaf, blind, and mute, unable to communicate with anyone besides with simple gestures for five long years.Her family went to visit Alexander Graham Bell in Washington D.C. Alexander was an activist in deaf education, they knew that he may be able to help Helen. He recommended the Perkins school for the blind, without his recommendation Helen might have died a deaf, blind, mute, uneducated women. Instead a recent graduate of the school, Anne Sullivan was offered the position of tutor for Helen. She arrived in Tuscumbia in March to live with the Keller's as Helen's personal tutor. Helen begin the age of seven had learned something by the time Anne arrived. She had some 60 gestures and signs that she had invented to ask for things or to identify people. Other then those gesture though she had been unsuccessful in her attempts to communicate with others. She became a frustrated child with plenty of behavior problems. For a time Anne and Helen had to live in a separate house away from Helens family. Anne did this because she had concerns that the family might interfere with her attempts to create structure. Eventually, Helen's behavior problems were brought under control, but she still did not understand words. Anne would do finger spelling in Helen's hands to name objects. She quickly learned these finger-spell patterns, but thought they were a game and didn't yet relate them to objects. Until one great day.Early in the morning Helen had been frustrated in her unsuccessful attempts to communicate and...

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