STORIES
Teachers Heroes

Annie Sullivan

by Sarah from Ohio

<a href=http://www.go.ednet.ns.ca/lawrencetown/anne4.jpg>Annie Sullivan</a>
Annie Sullivan

Ralph Waldo once said, “Self-trust is the essence of heroism.” This quote relates to my hero, Annie Sullivan, mostly because she was blind and she managed to teach a blind, deaf, and mute girl, Helen Keller, how to communicate by using sign language. Helen Keller was not able to see, hear, or talk by the age of nine months. Her parents were not able to communicate with her and when Helen did not get her way, she would throw a temper tantrum. One day they found Annie Sullivan who was looking for someone to teach. Annie was also blind and had been since she was eight years old. My quote relates to her because she did not feel like she was unable to help Helen even though she was blind. I think that she felt this way because she had self-trust. When Annie met Helen for the first time, she gave her a doll. She spelled the word “doll” in Helen’s hand and Helen had no idea what she was doing. Annie knew that it was going to be a challenge to teach Helen.

Annie Sullivan had a difficult life as a child. She was born on April 14, 1866. At the age of eight, her mother died. Since she was the oldest of five children, she had a huge amount of responsibility. As a child, she was extremely unhappy after her mother died. Her father’s name was Thomas Sullivan. He made very little money therefore the family was poor. Annie’s father was concerned with her eyesight because she was not acting normal. When he took her to a doctor, they told her that she had a disease called trachoma. Trachoma causes you to go blind and it will not get better, it will only get worse.

Teaching Helen was not an easy task for Annie. She started teaching her when she was twenty years old and Helen was six years old. Annie had been blind since she was eight years old and Helen had been blind, deaf, and mute since she was nine months old. Annie helped her learn the alphabet and vocabulary by spelling words in her hand. She would give Helen a reward when she learned a new word. Helen did not like Annie at first. She would hit her and throw things at her. Helen was used to having her way, she did not like the fact that she had to listen to Annie and do what she wanted her to do. When Helen would hit her, Annie would hit her back to show her that it hurts and it is wrong to hit people. Helen’s manners were terrible, but as time went by, they got better with the help from Annie. Annie taught Helen from 1887 to 1936.

Although their lives were difficult, they proved to be successful. Helen became famous for being deaf, blind, and mute, but never gave up. Annie stayed with her for fifty years. She followed her even when she was traveling on tours. Helen Keller graduated in 1905 while Annie married to John Albert Macy. They divorced in 1913 because they were unhappy. By 1935 Annie Sullivan was completely blind. Annie died October 20, 1936. Helen died June 1, 1968.

Some qualities of a hero include helpful, unselfish, reliable, and brave. Annie Sullivan relates to these words because she helps Helen Keller through her whole life and always thinks about her before herself. It takes bravery to go to someone’s house to teach a blind, deaf, and mute girl, especially when you have never met them. Helen relies on Annie almost every day. Annie stayed right by Helen in case anything was to happen.

Page created on 4/7/2007 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/7/2007 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Annie Sullivan - The Miracle Worker