Viewing Hellen Keller in a New Light

Our history is perhaps the most magnificent depiction of triumphant heroes, where numerous famous subjects have been projected as “saints”. One of such cases is that of Hellen Keller, whose life has mostly been limited to a story of an uncontrolled child who lost her hearing and sight after a severe illness at the age of two. Hellen, in her autobiography has immortalized her childhood story, narrating details on how she threw plates and screamed as an uncontrollable child. However, there are a few less familiar details about her life, her struggles and also her frustrations which have not been promoted to the world in the same manner.

Not many people are aware that Hellen was a woman who possessed a strong socialist conviction. Her contribution towards an anti-war world and agenda are phenomenal and frame an integral facet of her powerful personality. As a woman, belonging to the ninety’s; she demonstrated independent thinking. Hellen’s biography mentioned Anne Sullivan as her teacher; who managed to bring incredible changes into her life.  When Sullivan died in 1936, Polly Thompson became Hellen’s companion for nearly twenty four years. However, Polly’s role in Hellen’s life could never replace the void left behind by her teacher’s death. Polly is also said to be extremely possessive of Hellen and would not allow any other person to fingerspell to her. Hellen was therefore isolated in her own home.

Hellen deserves admiration not merely as a successfully woman but also as one who was able to break through various conventional norms to make room for independent thinking. Her life is embellished by numerous achievements such as honorary university degrees and the election to the Women’s Hall of fame. She also won the Lions Humanitarian Award and was ranked as one of the most admired personalities of her time. Her death in 1968 leaves behind a legacy of a woman who was deeply spiritual and was able to rise above her disabilities.