The Story of My life- Novel for class 10- English CBSE
By Helen Keller
Chapter 22- Notes and Study Material
Short Summary of Chapter-22 The Story of My Life by Helen Keller in Simple Words-
In this chapter, Helen mentions her other interests, apart from books. She talks about her great love of the outdoors, and especially of water, whether swimming, boating, canoeing or sailing. She enjoyed taking her friends out for rowing when they visited her. Someone was made to sit in the stern and manage the rudder while she rowed. She mentions an experience when she was caught in a gale on a sailboat and talks about the excitement and fearlessness she felt as the crew struggled to keep the boat afloat. She talks about the time spent in the countryside, especially at Wrentham, and contrasts the peaceful, simple life of the village with the glamour, hectic pace and discontent of the city. It was Mr Chamberlain from one of the charming little villages in New England who initiated her into the mysteries of trees and wildflowers. She expresses her shock at the difference in the lives of the rich and the poor in cities, as well as at the squalor and filth in which the poor life. She wishes they would return to the simplicity and honesty of the countryside and live more noble and content lives. She also describes her enjoyment at riding a tandem bicycle and her walks in the woods with her dogs. On days when she was forced to stay indoors, she describes her enjoyment of knitting, crocheting, reading or playing games like specially designed chess or Chinese checkers. She always enjoyed company, especially of young children, who she says was unconsciousness and had no difficulty interacting with her. She enjoyed visiting museums and stores with her mother and found that she could understand the emotions and feelings of the sculptor by touching the carvings and statues. Apart from this, Helen enjoyed visiting the theatre and meeting the great actors and me actresses after their performances. In the end, she mentions that though she was forced to live in a dark, silent world, she did not let it depress her, as she had learnt to be content.
Conclusion/ Chapter in short/ Analysis of Chapter 22/Understanding the Theme of Chapter 22
Helen writes about her love for the outdoors, the countryside. She mentions her experience of being caught in a gale on a sailboat. She was disturbed to look at the huge gap that existed between the rich and the poor. She also enjoyed indoor activities like knitting, crocheting, etc.
Question.1-How did Helen row boats even though she could not see?
Answer- Whenever Helen rowed boats, someone was made to sit at the stern and manage the rudder, while she rowed. Sometimes, she would row without the rudder and would try to steer by the scent of the water grasses, lilies and bushes growing along the shore. The oars had leather bands which kept them in position in the oarlocks. The resistance of the water also let her know when the oars were evenly poised and when she was pulling against the current.
Question.2-How did Helen enjoy the moonlit canoe rides?
Answer- Even though Helen could not see the moon, she enjoyed lying back among the pillows, in the canoe, with her hand trailing in the water. She would feel the air around her and the warmth that suddenly enfolded her, though she could not be sure if it came from the trees or from the water.
Question.3-What does the incident of the sailboat in the gale reveal about Helen’s character?
Answer-The incident of the sailboat reveals Helen’s love for adventure and her fearlessness. She felt excited when the people around her tried to keep the boat afloat in the gale and had no fear of drowning.
Question.4-Why does Helen enjoy spending time in the countryside?
Answer- Helen enjoyed the countryside because she felt, there, one did not become saddened by the cruel struggle for existence that one saw in the cities. Not only was the atmosphere purer, with clean air, green earth and murmuring rivers, but life itself was also simple and honest.
Question.5-Why did Helen wish that the poor would leave the city and return to the village?
Answer- Helen failed to understand why the poor lived in hideous, sunless tenements in the city, growing into ugly, withered people with children who are half-clad and underfed. She felt that these people lived such a tough life for very poor returns and that they should return to the countryside where life was simpler and their children could grow into noble individuals.
Question.6- Why did Helen enjoy interacting with little children?
Answer- Helen liked interacting with little children because they usually liked her and took her around, showed her things. She interacted with very small children who could not write on her hand, by reading their lips or by resorting to miming actions. She also enjoyed telling them stories and teaching them games.
Question.7- Why did Helen enjoy watching plays even more than reading about them?
Answer- Helen enjoyed having the play described to her while it was being enacted because she felt as if she was living in the middle of those events. Moreover, it gave her the opportunity to meet the actors and actresses and by touching their costumes, she was able to understand the characters even better.
Question.8-How did Helen play board games like chess and checkers?
Answer- Helen played board games, specially designed for her. In the chess boards, the squares had been cut out so that the men stood firmly on them. The chessmen were of two different sizes so that she could follow her opponent’s manoeuvres easily. In the game of checkers, the black checkers were flat, while the white ones were curved on top. Each checker had a hole in the middle, where a brass knob could be placed, to distinguish the king from the commoners.
Question.9- How did Helen enjoy her visits to the museum?
Answer- Helen enjoyed her museum visits as she was able to touch the objects, which helped her learn more about the world. Touching the sculptures also helped her identify the feelings and emotions of the sculptors who had carved them.
Question.10- Though Helen described her happy times in this chapter, yet it ends on a solemn note. What does this reveal about Helen as a person?
Answer- At the end of the chapter, Helen hints at the limitations of her world, which is dark and silent. She also speaks of her dependence on others to perceive the world and its beauty. It reveals the struggles that she had to face on a daily basis, and her determination to look at the brighter side of things and to make the most of the opportunities that came her way.