Freedom from a lonely darkness

Have you ever just closed your eyes and covered your ears for a while?  It is dark and empty.  I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to be both blind and deaf for nearly my entire life.  Helen Keller was truly an extraordinary person.  With help, she was freed from a prison of frustration and darkness.  She learned to communicate, read, and later on she even learned to speak.  Not to mention she became a very talented writer.

Helen Keller was born in 1880, in northern Alabama.  When she was only 19 months old, she was struck by disease which left her both blind and deaf.  She lived the first six years of her life in a lonely dark, and frustrating world.  The frustration was due to the fact that she could not communicate.  Her only way of communication was a few nods of the head, and pushes and pulls used to tell others what she needed.  Because of her great frustration she was very ill behaved.  Until the spring of 1887 when her teacher Anne Sullivan arrived.

Anne Sullivan was sent from Boston to teach Helen to communicate.  At first, Helen was confused about the different finger-made letters.  She found it difficult to make the connection between objects and the words formed by the finger-made letters.  One day Helen and Ms. Sullivan went for a walk, they stopped by a water fountain.  Ms. Sullivan spelled the word water into Helen’s hand, while at the same time Helen’s other hand was feeling the flowing water.  This time Helen made the connection.  This opened so many new doors, and that was only the beginning of her new life.

Helen learned to communicate, to behave properly, and also to read.  She had nearly freed herself from her prison of darkness.  But she still wanted the ability to speak, not just through her hands, she wanted to speak words from her mouth.  In 1890 Ms. Fuller taught her to speak.  Helen would hold her hand on Ms. Fuller’s mouth, Helen would feel the movements of the mouth and tongue.  After much learning Helen spoke her first sentence, “It is warm.”

Those were not the only key incidents that led to her freedom, but I believe they were the most important.

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