Helen Keller: Her “Release”
Helen Keller; many people know of this woman, who grew up both blind and deaf since the age of 19 months. Yet, she learned language, and was able to read Braille, speak, and sign with her hands. What were the key events that led to the “release” of her soul? Which key events unlocked her soul and mind and allowed her to explore the world?
First, was the arrival of Anne Sullivan to the Keller home, Helen having had turned seven a few months before. Then, the memorable event of the well-house, and her remembrance of the word “water” linked in her mind with the water flowing over her hands from the pump. After that, her teacher slowly began to teach her what she needed to know; geography, history, and math. As she got older, she tried to speak. This was a major difficulty; how could someone who couldn’t see or even hear what someone was saying learn how to speak? They overcame this difficulty using the sense of touch. Using her hands, she felt Mrs. Sullivan’s throat, lips, and nose. Thus, she could feel the vibration of the larynx and the motion of the lips and mouth, and was able to mimic them through much practice.
What can we learn from Helen Keller? First, nothing is impossible; she was the first blind and deaf woman to graduate college. Second, perseverance works wonders. It took her years to learn how to speak as much as she did. It took weeks for Mrs. Sullivan to get through to Helen that words represented things in the human mind. Lastly, determination. Helen Keller had plenty of opportunities to become discouraged and depressed. But she pushed through the obstacles. Let us do the same.