Chapter 19 The Story of My Life Extra Questions, Summary, and Notes


The Story of My life- Novel for class 10- English CBSE

By Helen Keller

Chapter 19- Notes and Study Material

Introduction of Chapter 19- the Story of My life by Helen Keller

Helen was studying at Gilman school for the preparation of Radcliffe. She had completed the first year successfully and entered the second year with hope and determination. Mr. Gilman had agreed that year she should study Mathematics principally. She, therefore. Took Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Astronomy. Greek and Latin for her study. In the beginning of the session, she had to face many difficulties. She did not have the embossed books Of Algebra and Geometry. It was. Therefore, very difficult for her to know the geometrical figures and solve the questions of Algebra. The class was very large and there was no special arrangement for her to grasp the intimations of her teachers. She could not know which geometrical figure. the teacher had drawn on the blackboard and how he solved questions. Miss Sullivan tried to make her understand the geometrical figures by making them on the cushion with the help of wires. But it appeared to Helen that probably it was not easy for Miss Sullivan to interpret to her the problems related to Geometry and Algebra. She was pained to know that Miss Sullivan  was blamed for her inability to learn the subject properly.                                                                                                                      In a few weeks, the embossed books of Geometry, Algebra and necessary apparatus were made available to her. This made her study easily and she overcame many of her difficulties. But just then an incident that troubled both Helen and Miss Sullivan, Mr. Gilman remonstrated with Miss Sullivan that she (Helen) was working too hard and it might affect her health aversely. Seeing her success in the first year it was decided that she could complete her preparation for Radcliffe in two years. But later, Mr. Gilman extended this period to three years. Helen wanted to enter Radcliffe with her class completing her cause in two years. Difference between Miss Sullivan and Mr. Gilman took such a turn as Helen’s mother had to withdraw her and Mildred from Gilman school. A qualified and experienced teacher was appointed to teach her at home. He would come to give her necessary instructions at her home. This made her work easy and she made steady progress in her studies. Helen had to face many difficulties in examination. The authorities of the college did not allow Miss Sullivan to read papers to her. Those who were appointed to discharge this duty, were strangers to her. They did not talk to her in the way as she could understand them. Besides, she had many other obstacles to overcome. But she successfully overcame them and completed her studies and got success in the examination.

Conclusion/ Chapter in short/ Analysis of Chapter 1/Understanding the Theme of Chapter 1

Helen writes about the problems faced in the second year at Cambridge School. Due to differences              between Mr. Gilman and Miss Sullivan, Helen and Mildred were removed from the school. She                    talks about the challenges she faced in geometry and algebra.

Short Summary of Chapter-19 The Story of My Life by Helen Keller in Simple Words-

In this chapter, Helen talks about the problems that she faced in the second year at the Cambridge            School. She terms these problems as unforeseen difficulties’. These included lack of embossed books,          important apparatus etc. She also records the disadvantages of being taught in a large class. She             felt sorry about the pressure on Miss Sullivan to act as a go-between and fill in the gaps in Helen’s            studies. In the meantime, Mr. Gilman suggested that Helen should complete the course over five                years instead of the three years taken by other students. However, Helen did not want to do so.                 This point led to differences between Mr. Gilman and Miss Sullivan, as a result of which both Helen           and Mildred were removed from school by their mother. Helen continued studies under Mr. Keith,             a mathematician at Wrentham. She received individual lessons and thrived on them. For the first               time in her life, she understood mathematics. She appeared for her examinations, writing in Braille.           Though Braille worked well enough in other branches of mathematics, but difficulties arose in                     geometry and algebra. She faced a great challenge while using symbols in geometry and algebra.

Extra Important Questions and Answers  

Question.1- What were the difficulties that Helen faced in the second year at the school?

Answer- Firstly, the books Helen needed were not embossed in time before her classes started. Secondly, the number of students in the class was very large and the instructors were unable to give her individual attention. Moreover, she found algebra and geometry difficult to follow and problems in physics difficult to solve till they brought in a Braille writer.

Question.2-. How did Helen deal with these problems? 

Answer- Helen’s problems became easier when her embossed books arrived. In addition, she started putting in greater effort to overcome her problems.

Question.3-‘I was beginning to overcome these difficulties when an event occurred which changed everything.’ What event is Helen referring to?

Answer- Helen, here, is referring to Mr. Gilman’s opinion that Helen was being forced to study too hard and that she should remain in his school for three more years. However, Helen, herself, was keen to pass with the other girls in her batch. The problem escalated into a major disagreement between Mr Gilmore and Miss Sullivan. Finally Helen and her sister Mildred left the school and started tuition under a private tutor, Mr Keith, from Cambridge.

Question.4- How did Helen learn algebra and geometry?

Answer- Mr. Keith taught Helen algebra and geometry twice a week, along with Greek and Latin. He was very patient and took lot of pains to teach her. He repeated his lessons till Helen was able to understand the concepts.

Question.5-Why were Helen and Mr. Keith distressed before the algebra exam?

Answer- Helen used Braille to write her exams; but there were different versions of Braille. She was comfortable with English Braille, whereas the papers that were sent to her for practice were in American Braille, which she realised two days before her exams. Even though she tried hard to understand the symbols used in the version, she found it very confusing. Moreover, she could not see what she was typing which made solving algebra sums very hard. She was used to solving the sums in her mind and she found   it hard to write in the exam papers.

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