Emotion is a powerful force in writing, and life, as Anne Sullivan so clearly understood. She was a gifted teacher and communicator best known for her work with Helen Keller, a deaf, blind, and (early in their work together) mute child she taught to communicate.
Despite the physical strain on her own limited sight, Sullivan – at age 21 – helped Keller learn to understand words and their meaning, how to speak them, and the greater context of what they stood for in the world around her. Then she spent the rest of her life making sure that Keller would always enjoy that world and write about it too.
Born on this date in 1866, Sullivan was devoted to Helen Keller’s success, and was instrumental in Keller's becoming the first deaf-blind person in history to graduate from college. The story of Keller and Sullivan’s work with her was re-told in the best-selling book, Broadway play, and award-winning movie called The Miracle Worker.
Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller
Helen Keller not only was inspirational for those who were deaf or blind (or both), but for all of us through her example of perserverance and the willingness to “try life” despite being dealt what many would call a losing hand. And she always gave credit to Sullivan.
“Life is an exciting business,” Keller said, referring directly to her mentor and lifelong friend who died in 1936, “and most exciting when it is lived for others.”