Helen Keller

Overcoming obstacles to become an inspiration to the world



Helen Keller wasn't born blind/deaf. She was born on June 27th, 1880 at Tuscumbia, Alabama. A mysterious illness struck her at 18 months old, and she became blind and deaf. Helen developed a crude system of hand gestures to communicate with her parents, Arther H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller, when she was a child. They became concerned when she became prone to outbursts randomly. Her parents took her to see a doctor, and he said she probably was frustrated that people could barely understand what she was trying to convey. So, he suggested they hired a tutor to help Helen communicate with people.

Overcoming Disabilities

Anne Mansfield Sullivan became her tutor when Helen was 7 years old. She taught Helen basic language, the manual alphabet, multiplication, and braille. It was a very long and tedious process. Sometimes there would be days where Anne though Helen was finally making progress, and the next day, it was like everything Anne taught her disappeared. Helen managed to accomplish the extremely hard task.

In 1890, Anne thought Helen would be able to speak. She took Helen to see Sarah Fuller, a principle at an elementary school who taught another blind/deaf girl to speak. Sarah Fuller managed to get Helen to produce sounds, and Anne took over as Helen's speech instructor at home when Helen was 9 years old. Eventually, she could form words, then sentences. Helen could speak. She defied everyone; she accomplished the impossible. Helen even learned Latin, French, and German.

Adulthood, Accomplishments, and Death

Helen decided she wasn't done amazinging people. She attended Perkins school to get a formal education, then went to Radcliffe College where Helen earned her degree. Helen Keller was the first blind/deaf person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. Anne followed Helen everywhere she went. They were best friends until Anne died in 1936. Helen went on to be a world famous speaker and author. She founded the Helen Keller International organization in 1915, which was dedicated to raising awareness and helping eradicate preventable blindness. In 1920, she aided the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that protected the rights of the people depicted in the Constitution. Finally, she wrote her autobiography, The Story of My Life. It describes in full detail how Helen Keller overcame great adversity to become world famous. Helen lived a long and full life until she was 87 years old, when she peacefully passed away in her sleep on June 1st, 1968.


Helen Keller's conflict was character vs. self. She had to overcome her blindness and deafness in order to communicate with the world.


Anne Mansfield Sullivan tutored Helen in language. It was a long, hard road of hope, failure, and success, but Helen finally conquered her adversities. She could speak to the world.

Life Theme

No matter how hopeless you think you are, you can succeed when you just keep trying.
Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan (1928 Newsreel Footage with Open Captions and Audio Description)

"I am only one; but I am still one. I cannot do everything; but I still can do something. I will not refuse to something I can do." -Helen Keller

Works Cited

dcmpnad."Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan (1928 Newsreel Footage with Open Captions and Audio Description)." Online clip. Youtube. Youtube, 2 Nov. 2009. Web. 15 Mar. 2016

"Helen Keller Biography." Bio.. A&E Networks Television. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

"Helen Keller." By Peace42311. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

"Helen Keller ." Home. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

"Overcoming Obstacles: How Helen Keller Made a Difference - K12 - Learning Liftoff - Free Parenting, Education, and Homeschooling Resources." K12 Learning Liftoff Free Parenting Education and Homeschooling Resources. 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

"Quote Edit by Helen Keller." Photograph. Learning Lift Off. 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.