Question
Tue March 10, 2015 By: Titas Patra

Summary of 'The Story of my life' chapter 15 to charter 22. plz ans as fast as possible

Expert Reply
Snehal Naik
Wed March 11, 2015
The Story of my Life: Summary (Chapter 15-22) 

Chapter 15 

Helen spent the next summer and winter with her family in Alabama. Staying at home made her forget about the controversy over ‘The Frost King’. Helen was scared that people would discover that the ideas were not her own. To help her, Helen’s teacher Anne Sullivan encouraged her to write the story of her own life in the form of an assignment. Helen was 12 years old at that time and used to write for a magazine called Youth's Companion. Her visit to President Cleveland’s inauguration, to Niagara Falls, and to the World’s fair were the big events of 1893. Although she couldn’t see the Falls, Helen said that their power had a big impact on her. Helen claimed that beauty and music were like goodness and love to her.

Chapter 16 

By the time Helen was 13, she could fingerspell and read in raised print and Braille. He could not only speak in English, but also a little bit of French. Helen began her formal schooling and preparation for college in for college by taking Latin and Math lessons.  She initially liked Math more, but later grew to love Latin too.

Anne Sullivan taught Helen based on her interests until now. She used to teach her what she wanted to know and provided her with experiences. However, when preparing for college, Helen worked systematically and things that did not gratify her immediately. She had to achieve her goal of receiving formal education.  

Chapter 17 

In October 1894, Helen went to the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City for two years. Miss Sullivan accompanied her and attended the school as her interpreter. Helen studied arithmetic, physical geography, French and German at the school. The school was chosen because it was the best for continuing the development of Helen’s speech and lip reading skills. Helen and her teachers were disappointed as her lip-reading and speech skills were not what they had hoped and expected to be despite the practice. Helen did not like Math. In spite of the setbacks, her admiration for geography and languages helped her form fond memories of her stay in New York.  The only thing she liked about New York was Central Park. The daily walks in Central park and closeness to nature were the two things that helped her get closer to her former life in her country.

Chapter 18 

In 1896, Helen went to Cambridge school for Young Ladies to be prepared to get into Radcliffe. It was her first experience of attending classes with girls who could hear and see. At the Cambridge School too, Miss Sullivan was to attend the classes with Helen as her interpreter. The teachers had never taught someone like Helen. The subjects that Helen learnt in the first year were English history, English literature, German, Latin, arithmetic, Latin composition and occasional themes. Miss Sullivan tried her best to spell into Helen’s hands everything that was in the books. Although Helen’s sponsors in London and Philadelphia worked to have the textbooks embossed in raised print for Helen to read, the books were not ready in time to suit Helen’s purpose. The Principal and the German teacher learnt to fingerspell so that Miss Sullivan could take a break. Although they were not as fluent as Miss Sullivan, Principal Gilman took over teaching Helen English Literature for the remaining part of the year.  

Chapter 19 Summary

Helen looked forward to her second year at Gilman’s school. However, she was confronted with unexpected difficulties that year which caused her a great deal of frustration.  She had to study mathematics without the needed tools. The classes were larger and it was not possible for the Cambridge teachers to give her special instructions. Anne Sullivan had to read all the books to her. Helen had to wait in order to buy a Braille writer so that she could do her algebra, geometry and physics.

When the embossed books and the other apparatus arrived, Helen’s difficulties began to disappear and she began to study with confidence. However, Mr. Gilman thought that Helen was overworked and was breaking down. He insisted that I was overworked, and that I should remain at his school three years longer. He made changes in her studies. A difference of opinion between Mr. Gilman and Miss Sullivan resulted in Helen’s mother withdrawing Helen and Mildred from the Cambridge school. Helen went on to continue her studies under a tutor. Helen found it easier to study with a tutor than receive instructions in class.

When Helen took her exam in June 1899, she faced many difficulties, as the administrative board of Radcliffe did not realize how difficult they were making her examinations. They did not understand the peculiar difficulties Helen had to go through. However, Helen, with her grit and determination, overcame them all.                  

Chapter 20 

Helen Keller took the entrance exams for Radcliffe College in 1899 just after her 19th birthday. She became the first blind-deaf college student in the fall of 1900.  She had thought of college romantically, that it would be a time to reflect and think about her subjects. However, her college life was different from her fellow students. She had to use her hands to listen rather than take down notes. The speed at which the lectures took place made it difficult for Keller to understand and remember everything that was taught.

Ms. Keller and Ms. Sullivan worked hard at Radcliffe College. Ms. Sullivan attended all of Ms. Keller's classes and helped with reading. Radcliffe was not prepared for deaf or blind students at that time. Many of the other students had never met a deaf and blind person. Although she enjoyed college, Ms. Keller thought that schedules of the students were too hectic and gave no time to sit and think. She also wrote, "we should take our education as we would take a walk in the country, leisurely, our minds hospitably open to impressions of every sort."

Chapter 21 

In this chapter, Helen Keller goes back to tell readers about her initial experiences with reading. Helen first read when I was seven years old. That was her first connected story in May 1887. There were only a few books in raised print, which Helen read repeatedly until a time when the words were so worn and pressed that she could scarcely make them out.

During her visit to Boston, she was allowed to spend a part of each day at the Institution library, and here she used to wander from bookcase to bookcase and take down whatever her “fingers lighted upon”. When she discovered the book ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy,’ Miss Sullivan read it to her and the book became Helen’s “sweet and gentle companion” throughout her childhood.

From there she read many books and she loved "Little Women" because it gave her a sense of kinship with girls and boys who could see and hear. She also loved ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Wild ‘Animals I Have Known’ as she felt a genuine interest in the animals themselves, they being “real animals and not caricatures of men”.  She was fascinated by Greek literature and it was Iliad that made Greece her “paradise”. According to her, great poetry did not need an interpreter but a responsive heart. Macbeth and King Lear impressed her most among Shakespeare’s works. She read the Bible for years “with an ever-broadening sense of joy and inspiration”. She said she loved it as she loved no other book.

Helen also expresses her love for history apart from her love for literature. The first book that gave her a real sense of the value of history was Swinton's "World's History," which she received on her thirteenth birthday. Among the French writers, she liked Molière and Racine best. Literature was Helen’s Utopia, where she faced no barrier of the senses. The things that she had learned and the things that were taught to her seemed of ridiculously little importance compared with their "large loves and heavenly charities."

Chapter 22 

Books and reading were not the only things that Helen enjoyed. When Helen was not reading, she enjoyed outdoor activities. She liked swimming, canoeing, and sailing. She also loved trees and used to feel close to them so much so that she believed she could hear their sap flow and see the sun shining on the leaves. Helen felt that each one of us had the ability to understand the impressions and the emotions experienced by mankind from the beginning. Blindness or deafness could not rob us of our memory in the subconscious about the green earth. This, she termed as the sixth sense which can see, feel and hear.   

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