Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan Essay

Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan Essay

Length: 700 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Helen Keller was a woman who provided an exceptional example of conquering physical disabilities, and provided encouragement for others similarly afflicted. At the age of nineteen months she suffered a severe illness that left her blind and deaf. Because of this, she could not speak and was entirely shut off from the world. But she rose above her disabilities to gain international fame and to help disabled people live fuller lives.
In the 1880s the law classed individuals both deaf and blind as idiots. A physician who examined her, however, believed that Keller’s intelligence could be developed, and her parents had hope for her. They had read Charles Dickens’ report of the aid given to another blind and deaf girl, Laura Bridgman. When Helen was 6 years old, her parents took her to see Alexander Graham Bell, famed teacher of the deaf and inventor of the telephone. As a result of his advice, Anne Mansfield Sullivan began to teach Helen on March 3, 1887. Sullivan had been almost blind in early life, but her sight had been partially restored. Until her death in 1936 she remained Helen’s teacher and constant companion.
Sullivan was able to make contact with Helen’s mind through the sense of touch. She used a manual alphabet by which she spelled out words on Helen’s hand. The initial breakthrough came when Sullivan pumped water from a well onto Keller’s hand and then spelled out the word for water. Gradually, the child was able to connect words with objects. Once she understood, her progress was rapid. At ten, she pleaded to relearn how to speak. Initially this seemed unattainable, but Sullivan discovered that Keller could be taught sounds by putting her fingers on Sullivan’s throat and feeling the vibrations. The touching sto...

... middle of paper ...

...w courage to blind people.
Keller’s writings reveal her interest in the beauty of things taken for granted by those who can see and hear. Her other books include: Optimism, or My Key to Life (1903); The World I Live In (1908); The Song of the Stone Wall (1910); Out of the Dark (1913); My Religion (1929); Midstream: My Later Life (1930); Journal (1938); Let Us Have Faith (1940), and The Open Door (1957). Her books have been translated into more than 50 languages.
The motion picture Helen Keller in Her Story (1954) was about Keller’s life. William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker (1959) (which won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize) and its motion-picture adaptation (1962) described how Sullivan made contact with Keller through the sense of touch. Her life has once and for all proved that the only “handicaps” a person possesses are ones that are mentally self-imposed.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Learning from Helen Keller Essays

- Learning from Helen Keller Facilitated Communication Institute Helen Keller is probably the most universally recognized disabled person of the twentieth century. (Others such as Franklin Roosevelt were equally well-known, but Keller is remembered primarily for her accomplishments which are disability-related.) Those of us who have grown up in the last half of this century have only known Keller as a figure of veneration. We know her primarily through popularized versions of her life such as the play "The Miracle Worker," or through her autobiographical works such as The Story of My Life (Keller, 1961 [1902]) and The World I Live In (Keller, 1908)....   [tags: Helen Keller Deaf Blind Essays]

Better Essays
3874 words (11.1 pages)

Essay on The Life of Annie Sullivan

- Anne Sullivan is known as the ‘miracle worker’, mainly because she was one. With her faith in God she enabled blind and deaf Helen Keller to communicate with others and read braille. Sounds impossible, right. Johanna Mansfield Sullivan, known as Anne or Annie all her life, was born on April 14th, 1866 in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts. Annie’s “family” lived there until she was ten. Her mother and father, Thomas and Alice Sullivan, were Irish immigrants, poor and ill. Annie was ill herself. She had trachoma that was not treated, and it lead to blindness when she was seven....   [tags: miracle worker, braille, blind, deaf]

Better Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Difficult and Miraculous Life of Helen Keller

- The sixth president, John Quincy Adams stated, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader" (Inspire Quotes). An individual one should admire is someone that inspires people to do great works. A good leader is a person who has gone through challenging situations and has overcome them. Helen Adams Keller proved that the odds were not against her. She learned to read, write, and spell all while she was blind and deaf. As a young child, she was referred to as a "tiny tyrant" that should be put into an asylum (Garret 32)....   [tags: blind, deaf, teacher]

Better Essays
2285 words (6.5 pages)

College Admissions Essay: Learning from Helen Keller

- Learning from Helen Keller "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -Helen Keller Helen Keller was one of the most successful people in the world. She helped in so many ways to change many people's lives. She was a very humble person despite her successes. I want to tell you about a story I read which touched me and shows what a special person Helen Keller was. In the summer of 1950, a woman in Italy was asked by a neighbor to pick up two women at a nearby hotel. The reason why her friend, Margot Besozzi, couldn't pick them up is because her jeep was getting repaired and that was the only car they could take to get up the very steep hill to her house....   [tags: College Admissions Essays]

Free Essays
511 words (1.5 pages)

Helen Keller an Astonishing Soldier in the Battle Against Blindness Essay

- ... At the age of 6 Helen’s parents decided it would be best to hire a professional so after Helen and her fathers trip to meet Alexander Graham Bell, bell told Mr. Keller about a woman he knew at an institute for blind people. The institute was called the Perkins Institute. After phone calls and letters written it was decided that Helen would have an at home teacher in hopes to educate Helen and make life a little easier on her. Helens parents had doubts on whether or not this “teacher” would be able to help their daughter but at this point the desperation to find a cure or to help was serious....   [tags: care, darkness, women´s right]

Better Essays
628 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on How Helen Keller Helped to Improve the World of the Disabled

- ... After overcoming her own impairment, she sought to help others with similar disabilities, concocting speeches and presentations to aid them in their own travels. Almost everyone can tell of how Helen Keller learned ways of communication through her aid and teacher, Annie Sullivan, but not many know of her later years, which I have found to be the most interesting. Another is the American Civil Liberties Union, which involves protecting every US citizens rights. Along with these organizations, Keller was a huge part of the woman’s suffrage movement, as she made many moving speeches, and was actively a role in legalizing birth control and the right to vote....   [tags: communication, activist, suffrage]

Better Essays
722 words (2.1 pages)

Helen Keller: Author, Lecturer, Political Activist Essay

- Helen Keller is one of the most inspirational people in American history. She had to overcome physical disabilities and many other obstacles to live the life that she did. Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her parents, Arthur Keller and Kate Adams, both served for the Confederates in the Civil War (Thompson, 2003). Like most parents, they were ecstatic when Keller was born. At 18 months old, she was a happy, healthy baby already learning to say her first few words. However, one morning, she woke up with an extremely high fever and had to go to the hospital....   [tags: Biography, Helen Keller]

Better Essays
1058 words (3 pages)

Biography of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Essay

- 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....   [tags: hero, role models, blind]

Better Essays
2082 words (5.9 pages)

Anne Sullivan: The Teacher of Helen Keller Essay

- ... At only age 14, Anne didnt know how to even read or write her name. But 6 years later, Anne Sullivan graduated from Perkins. Not only as a great student, But as valedictorian as well. She told her classmates these simple word, "Fellow graduates, duty bids us go cheerfully, hopefully, and earnestly. And set ourselves to find out especial part. When we have found it, willingly and faithfully perform it.." Anne was glad to finally be graduating. And getting to finally experience life the way she wanted to....   [tags: home, institution, school, teacher]

Better Essays
559 words (1.6 pages)

Helen Keller Essay

- Helen Keller Imagine a life without being able to see or hear and not knowing how to communicate with anyone around you. That world of darkness is what Helen Keller lived in for six years. Helen Keller has been an inspiration to people ever since she turned six. From 1886-1960, she proved herself to be a creative and inspiring woman of America. She was a writer and lecturer who fought for the rights of disadvantaged people all over the world. Most importantly, she overcame her two most difficult obstacles, being blind and deaf....   [tags: Helen Keller Blind Mute Death Essays Bio]

Better Essays
1684 words (4.8 pages)