Letters, in the past, do more than just share a message. These written words often carry the being along with the message; as if presenting one’s self to the one for whom the message is intended to be given. In this activity, a letter from Helen Keller dedicated to those who might like to donate for the cause of helping out deaf-and-blind individuals like herself shall be given particular attention to. Determining the response to the questions, what does this letter tell about Helen Keller? What result could a letter like this specifically bring about in relation to the goal that Helen Keller is focused upon is there anything in the letter that could influence such results? These questions shall help in determining the real value of the letter; they shall serve as the primary guideline towards completing this particular discussion.
Helen Keller is a well-known individual around the globe, not simply because of beauty, stature or anything else that might be considered important for one to gain fame, but because of the inspiration that she provides the society with. Being an individual with multiple types of disabilities, Helen Keller is seen to be a great epitome of faith, hope and strength in facing whatever life has to offer. Considerably, her experiences touch the lives not only of the ones who are experiencing the need to deal with disabilities but also to those who relatively have normal lives. To be able to survive and even rise to the occasion; become of the best writers this world has ever known, Helen Keller proved how determination to live better could make one’s life follow and be established on a better status than expected.
Hoping to help those who she can, Helen Keller has established several foundations. Seeing that people were ready to support her needs, she figured out, it might be safe to assume that the same individuals would be willing enough to send out support to others who might be experiencing the same dilemma she does. The letter of appeal sent by Helen Keller, however, did not only send out a message of asking for assistance but also to share who she was, what she was going to, and what she thinks her readers should know about the situation. She used such element of emotional bearing to bring out the goodness in each of her readers.
Dedicated to Professor Kies, Helen begins her letter with a salutation and a distinct presentation of the current data that identifies well with the foundation she was aiming to gain support for. The American Foundation for the Blind already serves 6,000 beneficiaries at the time (1958). She begins with such information to give her reader an idea of how the donations are to be used to support this huge number of beneficiaries who are experiencing particular difficulties close to what Helen was experiencing. To this information she further adds: “a few hundred found bright cases of help and understanding in scattered schools and agencies”; this particular part of the introductory part of her letter intends to show what the donation she is asking for is dedicated to. The expansion of the foundation; which is a determined indication that the foundation is growing and that it can provide more help for individuals with disabilities around the country, is notably presented by Helen as a milestone that she wants to share with her reader. As if making the reader feel and get engaged with the fulfillment and success of the project she has spearheaded, she hopes to gain the attention of the reader and have that individual understand the role he is to take if he does agree to send it donations for a noble cause.
In the letter, she mentions, “family and friends might surround you with love. But consolation alone cannot restore usefulness or bring release from the hardest prison, a tomb of the mind and a dungeon of the body”; observably, this almost poetic line in the letter indicates what it was that Helen felt. She might not be able to hear nor see, but she can feel. Somehow, the idea of knowing that families and friends are around [along with the other supporters that gave attention to her case] tends to compensate for the losses that she knew she would never be able to retrieve. However, amidst all the support, she still feels the need to fight the distinct emotion of knowing that neither her eyes nor her ears would ever be of use again. She describes the feeling to be somewhat likened to being in prison or being in a tomb where no matter how one tends to function fully, the limiting sanctions that her situations puts her through keeps her grounded on a hopeless emotion that cannot be completely eased by the pats in the back, the hugs and the kisses she gets from family and friends. This is perhaps the reason why expressing her thoughts was a very important matter to her. It is surprising how a person with her disabilities could be able to create compelling words that allow people see the situation through her eyes. Nevertheless, this was a distinct escape from the prison-like life that she had to live with.
The last parts of the letter presents what Helen is asking for. After appealing to the emotional bearing of the reader, Helen asks for the chance to be given financial support for the sake of those who are feeling empty and desperate because of their disabilities. She makes sure that the noble desire of the reader to provide for others would not go unnoticed, and that such help would be a source of great hope for those feeling low like her. In this section, Helen does not go any further than stating the purpose of her letter. She mentions how the donation is going to be used and how such noble act from the reader would be much appreciated and used for greater cause; as if giving the hopeless another chance to life.
Through the years of her life, Helen never stopped inspiring people, showing them that they could be better. At first, Helen did not intend to create such appeal to the people. In this letter, she reveals a particular fact about herself and the way she really feels. For many who have read her books and those who have read stories about her on other written works, they think that somehow, she is a person who was able to go beyond it all. In this letter, she shares a little bit more than what is known to the naked eye, she shares who she was and what she feels about her situation. Depression and desperation are two primary emotions that people with disabilities feel. People who have been born normal and are living normal lives would never be able to understand such situation no matter how they try. Simply knowing what goes on inside, what parts are not working and so on, do not account for the actual dilemma of knowing that there is no way that these particular parts are to ever work and function again. Finding a way to compensate for the loss and make the most out of what is left takes a lot of courage, especially for someone who is both blind and deaf. These particular ailments specifically bring a person down to the point of desperation. This is the reason why Helen felt truly affected by the desire of getting donations for the foundation that aims to help those who are seemingly losing hope; she wanted to be an instrument [and that of the readers of her letter] in allowing these desperate individuals realize that they have better chances in life.
Letter from Helen Keller, 1958 March 25 (Typed letter, signed) American author, lecturer. Letter to Paul Kies. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries: http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc/. (Retrieved on February 24, 2014).
Keller, Helen with Anne Sullivan and John A. Macy (1903) The Story of My Life. New York,
Herrmann, Dorothy (1998) Helen Keller: A Life. New York, NY: Knopf