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 From Sir Isaac Newton who developed the principle of modern physics, to Queen Elizabeth I who brought stability and prosperity to England during the 1500s, heros had made an unparalleled impact to the society. A hero is someone who is determined to do good, altruistic during unfavorable situations, and a role model to those around them. Born in June 27, 1880, Helen Keller was a dedicated author, devoted socialist, and an advocate for women’s suffrage. She was a symbol of triumph over adversity; she was a hero for her courage, optimism, and influence worldwide.  Helen’s courageous spirit had inspired countless individuals to be fearless when encounter hardships. Stricken by a disease now believe to be scarlet fever, nineteen-months-old Helen was left in a world of darkness and soundlessness. On March 3, 1887, Helen met her educator, Anne Sullivan, which she later described as “the most important day I remember in all my life”. With great effort, she learned to read, speak, and write. In 1900, she attended Radcliffe college as the first deaf-blind undergraduate in history. By then she had mastered touch-lip reading, Braille, and typing. During the four years in college, she encountered numerous adversities, for instance, she could not listen to the lecture, instead, words were rapidly spelled into her hand. Considering the speed a normal person would speak in, this was a strenuous and laborious task. Using the typewriter, she was able to write her first book, The Story of My Life, in 1904. After graduating from Radcliffe college, she continued to pursue her passion as an author. With her skills as a writer, she was able to speak truth to power. She protested U.S. refusal to accept Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, tackled the cause of blindness in Out of the Dark, and advocated women’s suffrage. “I knew that there were obstacles in the way; but I was eager to overcome them.”, she said in The Story of My Life.  Although Helen’s life was filled with misfortune, optimistic mindset never disappeared from her. In 1903, as a Junior in Radcliffe College, she published the essay Optimism; with her idiomatic and elegant writing, she explained her belief of optimism: never to be argued into hopelessness, the desire and will to work, and the belief in the preponderance of good. Helen herself was a great demonstration of her optimism: she kept a genuine and thankful heart to her unfortunate situation. It was in the same essay where she said, “Once I fretted and beat myself against the wall that shut me in. Now I rejoice in the consciousness that I can think, act and attain heaven.” In her essay An Epic of Courage, she expressed her desire to help the newly blinded and deafened to regain their human rights and dignity. The spirit of optimism was ubiquitous throughout Helen’s life.  In the eighty four years of her life, Helen had made a significant impact on the society and the individuals; she was a lecturer, a fundraiser, and a socialist. When she graduated from Radcliffe College in 1904, she announced that her life will be dedicated to the amelioration of blindness. In 1924, she joined the American Foundation for the Blind and worked for the organization for forty four years. In 1946, Helen was appointed counselor of international relations for the American Foundation of Overseas Blind. The position provided her a platform to advocate for the need of the blind and the deaf worldwide; she missed no opportunities. Through her lectures, she taught the world “the best and most beautiful things can not be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart”. Through her typewriter, she was able to communicate to the world her perspective. Through her visits to the thirty nine countries, she changed the perception of million of people with vision loss and disabilities. Through her life story and activism, she broke the stereotype of the uselessness of those with disabilities. Helen Keller’s influence to the world, and more notably, to those with disabilities was indubitably remarkable.  Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968 at the age of eighty seven, and the brilliant qualities implied in her legacy shall remain. With courage and pluck, she inspired millions of individuals to never surrender. With her optimistic mindset, she embraced the goodness of life and shut the door to the contrary. She impacted the society and the lives of others through her conviction and continuous effort towards the betterment of the world. Helen Keller was a hero of the nineteenth century, and the world shall be reminded of her contributions.


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