Saturday, October 22, 2005

deaf & blind, but not dumb

I came across this quote in Lies My Teacher Told me, and thought it was important to share:
"I had once believed that we were all masters of our fate -- that we could mould our lives into any form we pleased...I had overcome deafness and blindness sufficiently to be happy, and I supposed that anyone could come out victorious if he threw himself valiantly into life's struggle. But as I went more and more about the country I learned that I had spoken with assurance on a subject I knew little about.... I learned that the power to rise in the world is not within the reach of everyone."
- Helen Keller

Very few people know much if anything about Helen Keller's later life, post-Anne Sullivan. Keller went on to graduate from Radcliffe and became a voracious writer and radical social advocate.

Loewen tells this about her:
"Keller's commitment to socialism stemmed from her experience as a disabled person and from her sympathy for others with handicaps. She began by working to simplify the alphabet for the blind, but soon came to realize that to deal solely with blindness was the treat symptom, not cause. Through research she learned that blindness was not distributed randomly throughout the population but was concentrated in the lower class. Men who were poor might be blinded in industrial accidents or by inadequate medical care; poor women who became prostitutes faced the additional danger of syphilitic blindness. Thus Keller learned how the social class system controls people's opportunities in life, sometimes determining even whether they can see. Keller's research was not just book-learning: 'I have visited sweatshops, factories, crowded slums. If I could not see it, I could smell it.'"

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Lies My Teacher Told Me
AUTHOR: James W. Loewen

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Helen Keller wrote an autobiography called The Story of My Life.