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Communication Skills


Book Review

The Story of my life

By Helen Keller

The book was written by the author when she was twenty two years old. The story of my life
rewinds the author `s early life. From the beginning Keller creates a confidential bond with the
reader. Tentatively admitting her initial fear and insecurity, Keller states, I have, as it were, a
superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist.
Gaining confidence, Keller strengthens her voice as she gives an overview of her familys
history and life before her illness. She immerses herself in the events of her childhood and
refrains from expressing the difficulty of recounting her experiences. Although Keller refrains
from expressing these emotions, she continues to engage the reader as she vividly recounts the
pain, confusion, and frustration that haunted her as a child.

The greatest lesson taken from the book is the value of perseverance. Even without
the ability to see and hear, Keller learned to function and interact within the society in a
meaningful way. As Keller recounts the sense of loss and urgency that provoked her so
deviously, the strength and passion of her writing style unfolds. Although her writing style is
informal, she employs figurative language and strong diction to convey her emotions. Reflecting
on her desire to communicate, she writes, I felt as if invisible hands were holding me, and I
made frantic efforts to free myself. I struggled not that struggling helped matters, but the spirit
of resistance was strong within me; I generally broke down in tears and physical exhaustion.

Helen lived in complete isolation for almost five years. She developed a limited
sign language which could be understood by her mother. She managed to learn doing a few
things a few things, for example, she would fold and put away her clothes and she could also
understand when her mother wanted something from upstairs. Her drive to make a place for
herself in the world started while she was very young. During her childhood, she found ways to
help her mother around the house, rather than stay in dark, lonely and desolate world. Kellers
urgency to communicate was eased by the arrival of her teacher, Ann Sullivan. At this point
Kellers tone changes from desperation to wonder. Keller describes herself before her education
as a ship without a compass or a sounding-line, and [with] no way of knowing how near the
harbor was.

Following Sullivans arrival, Keller was exposed to the world of spelling, reading, and
writing. In the spring of 1888 Sullivan and Keller traveled to the Perkins Institution for the Blind.
Keller declares, It delighted me inexpressibly to find that they knew the manual alphabet. What
joy to talk with other children in my own language! Until then I had been like a foreigner.
She stood by Helen as a pillar of rock, but taught her to be independent. Sullivan continued to
teach Keller to communicate. Two years after their trip to Boston, Keller learned how to form
words through meaningful sounds. Although the challenge of speaking daunted her, she was
diligent and found strength in the hope of communicating with her family in their own language.

Keller story give courage and motivation to the reader. She captures the readers
attention with her strong metaphors, similes, personification, and diction. She engages the reader
with her thoughts, emotions, and opinions. Kellers determination, diligence, and strength are
displayed through the passion of her writing.