The Truth About Helen Keller
In Learning Dynamics, the authors, Marjorie Ford and Jon Ford, choose to include an excerpt from The Story of My Life by Helen Keller to show learning from experience. The excerpt titled "The Most Important Day of My Life" mainly draws from Helen Keller's early childhood as she begins her education on the third of March in 1887, three months before she became seven years old. Keller recounts her early experiences of being awakened to a world of words and concepts through the brilliant teaching methods of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Sullivan taught Keller new vocabulary by spelling words into the young girl's hand. At first, she does not understand the meaning of each word, but eventually learn to connect a word with the physical object it represents. Sullivan often left Keller to spend much time in nature as a way to develop her senses. In time, Keller not only discovers the physical world, but also a world of intangible concepts, ideas, images and emotions. Furthermore, she contributes much of her learning to Anne Sullivan, which she wrote, "I fell that her being is inseparable from my own, and that the footsteps of my life are in hers. All the best of me belongs to her."
Realizing that words could be put together to evoke a mental image, Helen Keller is able to paint many visual images in the readers' minds through her unique and eloquent usage of poetic language. Her writing style captures both her emotion and experiences. She writes, "Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line and you waited with beating heart for something to happen?" Here, the usage of metaphor creates a powerful picture of her anticipation and isolation, which is much more effective than a straightforward description might have been. By comparing her experience to being lost at sea, Keller demonstrates a rich visual image for the reader. The metaphor helps one to connect with the experience emotionally. Another example, "a child's mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily over the strong course of its education." Again, the use of metaphor describes the experience she had with learning, which come comes to realization that education is a continual journey.
Another way that Helen Keller is able to get her point across is through the usage of senses and imagery. However, much of her senses and imagery is embedded within her usage of nature. "The afternoon sun penetrated the mass of honeysuckle that covered the porch My fingers lingered almost unconsciously on the familiar leaves and blossoms which had just come forth to greet the sweet southern spring." She draws in our mind an image of the sun shining down on the porch and the plants surrounding the house. The view that she see in her mind epitomizes her affinity with nature. In addition, she describes the mimosa...