The World I Live In by Helen Keller This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 26, 2009
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I hear Helen Keller jokes all the time. How did Helen Keller burn her hands? She was trying to read a waffle iron. How does she drive? One hand on the wheel and one on the road.

In The World I Live In, Keller conveys what life is like for a deaf and blind but fiercely intelligent woman. She doesn’t recall events chronologically. Instead, she concentrates on imagery – the feel of faces under her fingers, the scents from her childhood, and her dreams.

Keller describes her childhood as one vague dream. She wouldn’t have noticed the difference, she says, between dreaming and waking except sometimes she ate pancakes in her dreams and woke up hungry. Things are different for her now, though, she attests. The difference is language. It took incredible effort for the young Keller to learn sign language, but once she did, the barrier was broken permanently.

In this book she battles people’s stereotype of what her handicaps mean – almost too sternly. She’s angry that some think she can’t develop her own idea of what colors are, or write poetry about sounds, or even understand the world she lives in. “Look,” she seems to snarl, “I understand more than you do.” She overemphasizes this point but does it with such intricate, beautiful language that the reader finishes the book enlightened and entertained.

The World I Live In is a classic. Keller understands language better than most who can hear. Now when I hear tasteless jokes about her, I laugh – she’s so above any invalid label. I believe she would have laughed too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm
I really liked it, and you inspired me to try to check it out the next time I go to the library!
kiwi12 said...
Jul. 15, 2009 at 8:05 pm
Wow. I really want to read this book now. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for your beautiful writing about this book!
Valkyrie_123 said...
Jun. 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm
i like it two. wonderful!
King Sidharth said...
Apr. 9, 2009 at 8:20 am
I don't know whom I want to praise. The amazing human 'Keller' or the amazing teenager like me who told me about her. I must say you both are 'awesome'!

----I run a small teenage e-magazine:
Liz said...
Apr. 9, 2009 at 12:28 am
Very good! I like it.
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