The Day Language Came Into My Life

Helen Keller was a blind and deaf child. It is hard to image not being able to communicate to anyone until the age of 7 when she started getting taught by Anne Sullivan.  What amazes me the most about this, besides her being both deaf and blind, is the fact that she did not have many emotions before being taught. Before Anne, she only knew anger and bitterness. Hellen describes her emotions as  this, “Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line…” She was the ship, completely lost. I don’t know how I could through life not being able to communicate with others, being essentially, in a primal state not know how to properly act. Later on, when Anne tried to show Hellen that two objects can have the same meaning, she got angry she “seized the new doll, dashed it to the ground.” All of this shows one thing, the power of knowledge, learning, and communicating. Image if everyone in the world acted like Hellen did before meeting Anne, letting their anger control them. We would get no where. How do you think you would act if you were in Hellen’s case? I know I would have the same anger issues, not being able to talk along with not knowing what anything was. It is truly amazing though to see the change she makes once she begins to be able to start communicating, and understanding what the things were, that surround her. The last words on the page sum up the change that was made, she said, “for the first time longed for a new day to come.”

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24 thoughts on “The Day Language Came Into My Life

  1. I think it’s interesting how you mention that Helen Keller had no emotions before language came into her life- without language and the awareness of language, there is no way to express any feelings one may be encountering. Language is what allows one to communicate back and forth, and in Helen Keller’s case, she knew of nothing but to feel angry because she couldn’t communicate with others. If I were in Helen’s shoes, I don’t know what I would do with myself. Being shy as it is, I do still talk, quite a bit. I don’t even realize how much power language has until I think about it being taken away from me. Not only was language taken away from Helen Keller, but so was listening. Listening is a key component when it comes to language. Anything can be taken the wrong way from language if one doesn’t listen properly.

  2. Throughout your response to Helen Keller’s “The Day Language Came Into My Life” I definitely felt the emotion that you had while you read the passage. You connected with the writer and her story, and that is evident in the response I just read. I would also be filled with anger and irritation, like it seems that you would, and also like Helen Keller is in her recollection of her experiences. I like how you gave an example within your response, which provided for an understandable relation between the reader and the passage. I think you captured the idea that Helen Keller wanted her readers to capture, and that is that we cannot fully understand, but we can imagine.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I think you did a great job connecting the power of knowledge, learning, and communicating to Keller’s story. I did not ever think of Keller as not having emotions before the age of seven but that is so true. She was completely lost before Anne Sullivan. If I were in her shoes I would struggle so much. I am not the most patient person so it would be extremely difficult for me to learn the way she did. I really look up to Keller and I am so impressed with the amount of patience and strength she showed.

  4. It amazes me to find out the reality of the importance of sight and speech(deafness) to express feeling. I took American Sign Language in high school and I found it hard unless you expressed the motion it was hard to tell a difference in mood. Keller was missing key pieces by not being able to hear speech differences and she also could not see the difference. Her learning method took so long because Ms Sullivan had to spell out and bring each item to her attention so she could learn that item. This is so difficult but her parents were there to help mid way through the experience.

  5. I found this post very interesting. The fact that Helen Keller had no emotion other than anger and bitterness until the age of seven really struck me. Also, the fact that she could not express the ways she felt or could even comprehend what her feelings were is completely mind boggling. I do not think any of us could ever comprehend what it would be like to not express any of our feelings at all unless we were in her situation. It makes me grateful for having my sight and hearing and be able to express my feelings and communicate with others.

  6. I had never really thought much about the effects of being blind or deaf, let alone both. But from reading this passage and your blog post, I have realized that being blind and deaf caused Helen Keller to have very few emotions at a young age. I don’t think I could even fathom what that would be like and the problems that it would cause. When she was able to learn words and language, she was able to learn emotions, which added joy to her life. The power of language is something that we underestimate and take for granted every day.

  7. I could somewhat relate to Keller’s experience as a child. I was born in South Korea so coming to America and being in a class full of American kids was frustrating. I had no way of communicating to my fellow peers, yet alone understanding what they were saying to me. So usually I’d be too frustrated to even try to talk to them. But I picked up English quite easily and was able to communicate with my neighbors. The power of language is so strong that once I started being able to speak the same language as everyone else; it became easier to make friends.

  8. When reading you post I instantly started thinking about how hard it must have been for Anne Sullivan. Helen would get angry and frustrated. Anne couldn’t give up on her, she had to have an immense amount of patience and love for Helen. I think that Anne Sullivan deserves a lot of credit too. I don’t think the average person could be so patient and kind with someone.

  9. Being blind and deaf like Helen Keller must be tremendously frustrating and sometimes unthinkable. To me that is the most tragic thing that can happen to a person. Without sight and sound you miss out on life. Learning emotion must have been the hardest thing for Helen Keller to lean. It must have been a challenge to learn but also teacher a girl who is blind and deaf, not only how to show emotion, but understand them. Each sense is like and addition to life, for Helen Keller two of those were missing. The emotion Helen showed when throwing that doll, displayed how far she had come, but also her mental capability to feel these types of emotions.

  10. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like those first seven years of her life. I am an extremely talkative person and it would be extremely difficult for me to not be able to communicate with other at all. I have an uncle that is legally blind and close to deaf. In today’s world with the technology available for him has made it much easier for him to have somewhat of a normal lifestyle. I do often see him become frustrated because his sight and hearing hold him back slightly but he always finds a way to communicate. He is a role model because he shows me that he isn’t going to let an obstacle get in the way of him accomplishing his goals. Helen Keller had it much harder without the equipment that we have in today’s world but she still managed with the help of Anne Sullivan to overcome the struggles she faced.

  11. I really enjoyed reading this blog because you created a connection from emotions to the power of language and communication. It really stood out to me that Helen Keller only experienced emotions of anger and bitterness until the age of seven. She was definitely a different child growing up, not only because he was blind and deaf, but because she didn’t have that happiness and joy that comes with the innocence of childhood. In this passage, Keller describes the day Anne Sullivan entered her life and introduced her to language. She gave Helen a doll as a gift and taught her that “d-o-l-l” is doll. But when Sullivan tried to teach Helen the difference between water and mug, Helen became frustrated and broke the doll. At that time, she did not have any emotion. However, as Helen learned new words throughout the day, she felt joy at her success and remembered the doll she broke. Helen automatically felt sorry and regret for breaking the doll. This really showed how one cannot understand emotion without understanding the power of language first.

  12. I totally agree with you in that it would be very frustrating to be in Helen Keller’s position and not be able to communicate with anyone. From a personal experience, I remember when I first moved to America in 1999, I was unable to begin school immediately because I didn’t know English. I felt like I was being cheated out on a great experience all because of one disadvantage that I had. So I began to learn English. Me and my mom, together, read books, watched TV, and socialized with other Americans to learn the language. And I was overjoyed when the following year came and I finally began kindergarten. I was put at a disadvantage, like Helen Keller, and both of us fought through adversity to be on the same level as everyone else. I believe that every person will face many challenges through his or her lifetime and I believe the toughest challenges are dealt out to the people that will be able to overcome them, such as Helen Keller.

    1. Read Bruce’s comment. He shares a similar literacy path. Learning a second language puts one in a similar social and emotional situation that Keller experienced as a deaf and blind learner.

  13. I love this blog post because it makes me relate to the story in a different way than i ever thought before. I worked with a special needs girl who would forget, randomly, where she was and wasn’t very verbal. So at random points of the day would just do things and no one would no why, she would refuse to get off the bus and just sit in her seat and cry for hours on end because she felt lost. Much like Helen was lost. When my girl, Kristen, learned about buses and school and teachers and became very good friends with me she starting feeling less lost in a fog and much like Helen she grew into an even more beautiful person then she was before. It’s so great to read this blog post and relate to it in such a way!

  14. In a world where individuals feel alone if someone isn’t texting them, if they are in a fight with their best friend, or lose something close to them Helen Keller was unable to communicate to anyone until the age of 7! I love how you used the context. You irrefutably backed up your logic and instilled a powerful sense of knowledge and understanding. Your connection to the quote, “Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in , and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line…” It also reminded me of a couple famous anonymous quotes, “A ship is safe at harbor, but that is not what a ship is for” and “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.” Keller could have easily accepted that she was never suppose to accomplish anything, but no. instead she faced the seas ahead and was guided by Anne Sullivan and her loved ones. I found your blog post to be very interesting and thoroughly enjoyed it, well done!

  15. Helen Keller was born into a world of confusion. From the time where she can first remember, she has no idea where she is or who anyone is. I know I would be scared and angry as well too. I think you hit the nail on the head when you connected the emotional piece to Helen’s life.

    I couldn’t imagine not knowing a damn thing except that everything is dark, there are other people around you trying to help, and you are in complete silence. I know I can stand either of those things. When I am in a dark room I make sure to find a way to get light, when I am in complete silence I start conversation or put on some music in the background to put my mind at ease. If I was in her position I would be in a constant state of fear. I hate the feeling of being lost and I wouldn’t know who or how to trust anyone.

    So, that is where I connect to this story mostly. I cannot even comprehend how Helen Keller was able to push through such a challenge. She is truly a miracle. Her story is one that will be taught and remember for many more days to come. I am truly inspired by this story, and I hope that it can at least teach people how to push through adversity.

  16. I agree your statement of how hard it was for Helen Keller to learn and the anger that so often overwhelmed her. It’s crazy to see the change inside of her once she learned to communicate and understand. She conquers a huge barrier in her life and is able to be a part of society. She now looks forward to a new day because it’s full of possibilities to learn new things. If we all looked at language from the viewpoint Keller has, we would all be a little more thankful for the opportunities to learn and further our knowledge. Being able to communicate is an amazing advantage in our society and this key ingredient determines our understanding of the world we live in.

  17. Babies and toddlers cry and through temper tantrums because they cannot comunicate well and that’s all they can do. Eventually, we grasp the concept of language and are able to communicate our wants and needs. Helen Keller, being unable to hear or see, could not communicate even when she grew into a young child. So it makes sense that she was angry most of the time. If I was in a world where no one could understand what I was trying to convey, I would be very upset too. Humans need communication and Helen finally experienced how wonderful that could be after years of darkness and silence. She then grew into a very intelligent woman and was able to share her amazing story with all of us.

  18. I enjoyed how you brought up the point that Helen Keller didn’t have emotion before she was taught language. All Helen Keller had was anger and bitterness. Honestly I can agree with those emotions especially since she couldn’t portray what she wanted or need at certain times. Just think about having to wait until you were seven to learn language, that would be a rough road for all of us. Also you challenge us to take a moment and look from it in her perspective of being blind and deaf, I am pretty sure most of us would be angry and bitter too. Everyone should learn a lesson from Helen Keller and be accepting of hardships and to do whatever it takes to get by them.

  19. I feel bad for Helen Keller because of what she was put through. I have been lucky to have grown up in America and been taught the English language since I was born. Growing up, my parents introduced me to language from a young age. My first word was juice because I loved juice. Helen Keller was an angry child and she had every right to be. I would not be happy either if I couldn’t see, hear, or speak. She overcame her problems though and persevered and went on to be on of the most influential people in history.

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