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The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 1
Helen traces the origins of her family and talks about her early childhood. Her initial days were full of colour and laughter and she was the darling of the family. A mysterious illness left Helen blind, deaf and dumb. Those were the days of rebellion and indiscipline which Helen spent trying to make sense of a dark and silent world.
Helen starts her autobiography by tracing the origins of the family on both her father’s and mother’s side. She recollects certain incidents.from her early childhood which were full of colour and laughter. Being the first-born, she was the darling of the family. She was a normal child who could see and hear like other children. Even as a child, she had an eager and self- asserting disposition.
She vividly recounts the house where she lived till the time she was struck by the illness. The house was covered with vines, climbing roses and honeysuckles and its old-fashioned garden was the paradise of her childhood. However, when the mysterious illness struck her, it left her deaf and blind. Her parents were greatly distressed when they found out that their baby girl could no longer see.
Helen used to find solace in the garden, losing herself amongst the flowers and the vines. The only source of sustenance; was her mother’s love and the tenderness which soothed her pain. These were days of rebellion and indiscipline when she struggled to make sense of the dark and silent world that she was suddenly enveloped in.
The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
What does Helen mean by saying that “the shadows of the prison house are on the rest.. “?
The expression means that Helen is not able to remember a large part of her childhood.
When and where was Helen born?
Helen was born on 27 June 1880 in Tuscumbia, a town in northern Alabama.
What does Helen mean when she makes the statement, “it is true there is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors and no slave who has not had a king among his”?
The author means that if one researches one’s lineage, the person will find all kinds of people who were their ancestors. That is, no family can have only powerful and rich people as their ancestors.
Who were Caspar Keller, Arthur H Keller and Kate Adams?
Caspar was Helen’s grandfather, Arthur was her father and Kate her mother.
How do we know that the house in which Helen lived was very beautiful?
Though the house was not very big, it was completely covered with vines, climbing roses and honeysuckle.
From the garden, it looked like an arbour. The porch of the house was covered by a screen of yellow roses and southern smilax and it was always buzzing with hummingbirds and bees.
How did Helen enjoy the beauties of her garden in spite of her blindness?
Helen would feel the hedges and find different flowers by her sense of smell. She would find comfort in hiding her face in the cool leaves and grass. She wandered in the garden touching, feeling and smelling the various flowers, bushes and trees and could identify them accurately.
What does Helen, want to express through the statement “I came, I saw, I conquered”?
Helen wants to express the fact that she was a much loved child especially as she was the first born in the family.
How did Helen get her name?
Helen’s father had wanted to name her Mildred Campbell after an ancestor whom he had a high regard for, while her mother wanted to name her after her mother, whose maiden name was Helen Everett. However, by the time they reached the church for the ceremony, her father lost the name and when the minister asked him, he gave the name Helen Adams.
Give two examples to show that Helen was an intelligent baby.
When she was six months old, Helen could say “How d’ye?” and one day she started saying “Tea” very clearly.
Even after her illness, she could recollect many of the words that she had learnt as a baby, like “water”.
What motivated Helen to take her first steps as a baby?
One day, when Helen’s mother was giving her a bath, she was attracted by the flickering shadows of the leaves that were reflected on the bathroom floor. She got up from her mother’s lap and walked towards the reflection to try and catch it.
Why does Helen call February a dreary month?
It was the month in which Helen was struck by an illness that left her deaf and blind. For her, it was a nightmarish experience.
For how long had Helen been able to see and hear?
Helen was able to see and hear for the first 19 months of her life.