The Story of My Life Summary Questions Answers

The Story of My Life Summary Questions Answers

The Story of My Life Summary Questions Answers

"The Story of My Life" is an autobiographical novel written by Helen Keller. The novel deals with the story of a young girl named Helen Keller who was deaf and blind at a young age. The story of the novel is inspiring as it tells how the young girl overcame the obstacles inspite of having many disabilities and ultimately got success.

The Story of My Life Summary:

Helen Keller was born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. But she faced the difficult path of her life only at the age of 19 months. She was struck with a severe fever which robbed her of her eyesight and hearing. She found her life in hell and lived a life of isolation. She had to take the means of signal to communicate with others. Being grown up as a dead and blind child, Keller's frustration and depression often broke into fits of rage which steadily grew out of control. So this led her parents to think that Keller should be guided and educated in the hands of qualified one who would bring her out from darkness into the light of the world. 

The family of Keller at first met Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. Then they went to Perkins Institution which was a school for the blind. Mr. Anagnos, the director of the school helped to find a teacher who was Anne Sullivan in the year 1887. Anne Sullivan taught Helen the concept of language by spelling out words on Helen's hand. Anne Sullivan taught Helen to know and learn about different objects by touching them and spelling them out on get hands. It was Sullivan who helped Helen to love nature and education with her guidance.  Miss Sullivan helped her to think and feel about abstract concepts.

Gradually Helen gathered experience and education. But when she was 12, Helen was charged with plagiarism of a short story  which Helen wrote for Mr. Anagnos. Although Helen was found innocent but Helen had to go through a great sad and shocking experience. It took sometime for her to recover from such setback and Helen was so much disappointed that she became fearful of writing. With the passing of time Helen started to interact with the world and by age ten she learnt to speak. A woman by the name of Sarah Fuller taught Keller to speak. She learnt about another girl in Norway and the girl was deaf and blind but could speak. Helen was determined to do the same which made her unstoppable. 

Helen started her journey towards college at a prep school called The Cambridge School for Young Ladies where she had to face many obstacles and disadvantages due to her disabilities. In October 1896, Helen entered the Cambridge School for Young Ladies. At the Cambridge School,  for the first time in life Helen enjoyed the companionship of other girls In order to pass her exams, Keller used the method of learning that Miss Sullivan had taught her. At the time of examination, Helen was advised that she should have her examination in a room by herself because the noise of the typewriter would disturb others. Mr. Gilman spelt to her what she had written and Helen accordingly made changes what she thought were necessary and finally Mr. Gilman sent her written work to the examiners. During her final exams, she was not given any special assistance. In the exams, Helen had faced difficulties with Braille because Keller had been learning different type of Braille than the one used in her final exam. Despite many difficulties, Helen passed the college entrance exam. In her college life, Helen loved the German and English Literature. Her favourite book was the Bible and she loved Shakespeare, particularly Macbeth. Though Helen Keller had to face many obstacles in her life, but she hardly resented them at all.

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The Story of My Life Questions Answers:

1.Why was Helen's progress in the French language much slower than that of German language? 
Ans: Miss Reamy, Helen's German teacher, could use the manual alphabet and after Helen had acquired a little vocabulary, the two would talk together in German whenever they had a chance and in a few months Helen could understand almost everything her teacher said. Before the end of the first year, Helen read 'Wilhelm Tell' with the greatest delight. She made more progress in German than in any of her other studies. She found French much more difficult. She studied it with madam Olivier, a French lady who did not know the manual alphabet and would give Helen oral instructions. Helen could not read her lips easily so her progress in French was much slower than in German. 

2. What is the greatest sorrow that Helen says she has ever borne, except the death of her father? 
Ans: Before Helen left New York, she was deeply saddened by the greatest sorrow that she has ever borne, except that of the death of her father. Mr. John P. Spaulding of Boston (Helen's benefactor) died in February, 1896. Only those who knew and loved Mr. Spaulding could have understood what his friendship meant to Helen. He was a person who made everyone happy in the most beautiful, unobtrusive way and was also most kind and tender towards Helen and her teacher, Miss Sullivan. So long as they felt his presence and knew that he was taking a watchful interest in their work, despite being fraught with so many difficulties, they could not be discouraged. His going away left a void in their lives that could never be filled. 

3. How was Helen's experience in Cambridge School, in the company of seeing and hearing girls of her own age? 
Ans: At the Cambridge School, for the first time in her life, Helen enjoyed the companionship of seeing and hearing girls of her own age. She lived with several other girls in one of the houses, connected with the school where Mr. Howells used to live and here she had all the advantages of a home life. Helen joined the girls in many of their games, like blind man's buff and frolics in the snow; she also took long walks with them; they discussed their studies and read aloud all the things that interested them. Some of the girls even learnt to speak to Helen, so that Miss Sullivan did not have to repeat their conversation. 

4. How was initial experience of Helen at the Cambridge School for young ladies? 
Ans: In October 1896, Helen entered the Cambridge School for young ladies so that she could get prepared for Radcliffe. The plan was to have Miss Sullivan attend the classes with Helen at the Cambridge School and interpret to her the instructions given. Helen's instructors had no experience in teaching any but normal pupils and her only means of conversing with them was reading their lips. Despite having advantages like being well drilled in English by Miss Sullivan, having a good start in French and receiving six months instructions in Latin, there were serious drawbacks to Helen's progress. Miss Sullivan could not spell out in her head all that the books required and it was very difficult to have textbooks embossed in time to be of use to her. Despite these initial handicaps, Helen is able to pass all these subjects in 1897.

5. How was Helen's preliminary examination for Radcliffe arranged? 
Ans: During the examination, each candidate was known, not by his name, but by a number, but as Helen had to use a typewriter, her identity could not be concealed. It was also advised that she should have her examination in a room by herself, because the noise of the typewriter would disturb the other girls. Mr. Gilman read all the papers for her by means of the manual alphabet. A man was placed in guard at the door to prevent interruption. Helen found the papers to be difficult and felt extremely anxious when she wrote out her answers on typewriter. Mr. Gilman spelt to her what she had written and Helen according made changes as she thought were necessary and he inserted them. Finally, Mr. Gilman sent her written work to the examiners, with the certificate that the candidate (Helen) herself had written the papers. 

6. Why were the difficulties Helen faced in her second year at the Cambridge School for young ladies? 
Ans: When Helen began her second year at the Cambridge School, she was full of hope and determination to succeed. But during the first few weeks she was confronted with unforeseen difficulties. Her subjects were physics, algebra, geometry, astronomy, Greek and Latin and many of the books she needed had not been embossed in time for her to begin with the classes and she lacked the important apparatus for some of her studies. The classes that Helen was in were large and it was impossible for the teachers to give her special instruction. Miss Sullivan had to read all the books to her and interpret for the instructors and for the first time in eleven years Helen felt that it seemed that Miss Sullivan was finding it a hard task to do this. Sometimes Helen also lost all her courage and betrayed her feelings in a way she was ashamed to remember. 

7. How did Helen continue with her preparation for college even after she had withdrawn from Cambridge School? 
Ans: After Helen was withdrawn from Cambridge School it was arranged that she would continue her studies under a tutor Mr. Keith of Cambridge. Mr. Keith came twice a week at Wrentham and taught her algebra, geometry, Greek and Latin. Miss Sullivan interpreted his instruction. Then for eight months, Mr. Keith gave her lessons, now five times a week, for one hour. Helen found it much easier and more pleasant to be taught by herself than to receive instruction in a class. Her tutor had plenty of time to explain what she did not understand and Helen got on faster and did better work than she had ever done in school. Mr. Keith kept her mind alert and trained it to reason clearly and seek conclusions logically. In this way Helen's preparation for college continued without interruption. 

8. Why did Helen dislike the concept of examination? 
Ans: Helen refers to examinations as the 'chief bugbears' (most annoying) of her college life. Although she faced them many times and even cast them down, yet they surfaced time and again. Helen feels that the days before 'these ordeals' take place, are spent in cramming one's mind with 'mystic formulae' and 'indigestible dates', until one wishes that books and science were buried in the depths of the sea. And finally when the dreaded examination hour arrives the facts that one has garnered with so much of infinite trouble invariably fail you at the last moment. One is amazed at all the things he knows which are not there in the examination paper. When the proctor informs you that the time is up it is with a feeling of intense disgust that one scribbles some rubbish in the paper and finally goes home. 

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