Untitled Essay, Research Paper
The book I chose to read is called The Touch of Magic written by Lorena A.
Hickok. The story was about Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller’s wonderful
teacher. I had never heard of Anne before I read this book, but while looking
in the library my mom explained to me who she was and she seemed like she
would be an interesting person to do it on. I was right.
Anne Sullivan Macy was born on April 14, 1866 in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts.
At the age of nine she was taken to the outskirts of Tewksbury, Massachusetts
with her three year old brother Jimmie. There, they were sent to the
Massachusetts State Infirmary. Not because they were mentally sick or anything,
but because they had nowhere else to go.
Their mother had died of tuberculosis and their father had left them. None
of their relatives wanted them because Annie was nearly blind and Jimmie
had something wrong with his hip and had to walk with a crutch. Annie’s
one year old sister was taken right away by her aunt and uncle because she
was darling. Nobody knew where to send them so that’s how she ended
up at the infirmary.
A few months after they had arrived, Jimmie got deathly ill. The doctor’s
couldn’t do anything for him and unfortunately he past away. Annie took
this unbelievably hard for she had realized that Jimmie was the only thing
she had ever loved.
Annie’s attitude then worsened even more because she felt she had nothing
left. She would throw hissy fits at the nurses and kick and scream. Believe
it or not, this is one of the character traits that I most admire about Miss
Macy. She was aggressive and didn’t let anyone tell her what to do.
Even though she could hardly see, she lived her own life in her own little
Another trait that I admire about her is that she was a dreamer. I know I
am a big dreamer and can get lost in my thoughts sometimes, but her dreams
weren’t like mine. Annie dreamt of being able to see, but most often
dreamt of going to school. Annie wanted to learn but had no one to teach
One day, about a year after Jimmie’s death, the State Board of Charities
came by to look around. Annie was so excited because she heard they might
be able to send her to school. When they were leaving she jumped in front
of them and yelled out that she wanted to go to school. The men asked her
what was wrong with her and she explained to them that she was nearly blind.
A few days later, after Annie thought she had blown her chance of ever going
to school, a girl from the ward came saying that Annie was to go to school.
Annie was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to go. This is the first major
event that I think led to Annie’s success.
The day finally came and Annie arrived at the Perkins Institution for the
Blind in South Boston around noon. She didn’t like it at first but later
became quite popular. While the other girls stayed in nice cottages, Annie
stayed in an old cottage with fifty year old Laura Bridgman. Laura was blind,
deaf, and dumb.
Laura Bridgman had gone to that school forty some years earlier and was taught
the manual alphabet. This is where you communicate by spelling words on each
other’s palms and then feel an object to know that the word spelled
is the word felt.
Annie was simply fascinated with this way of communicating that she learned
the manual alphabet. That’s why I think Laura was the person who had
the greatest influence on Annie. Annie would spend hours “talking”
with Laura. She would tell Laura what was going on in school and things around
them and Laura would share her thoughts and feelings back to Annie.
Annie was good in school and her teachers saw that. She had a hard time with
Braille but after a lot of hard work, she got it. I think that is another
admirable trait about Annie. Her eagerness and willingness to learn. an education
was what she wanted all her life and her dream finally came true. After she
learned Braille, Annie would search the library for books. She loved to read.
Summer quickly came and all the girls, even Laura, left for home. The teachers
refused to send Annie back to Tewksbury so one of them was able to find her
a job doing little work at a rooming house.
One of the roomers, a young man, really took to Annie and felt sorry for
her. One day he told her that he thought he knew of someone who could help
her eyes. Annie agreed to go see Dr. Bradford at the Carney Catholic Hospital.
He insisted on operating even though she explained to him that she had already
had two unsuccessful operations. He convinced her and started work later
He first cut away the scabs on the insides of her eyelids. This would stop
the scabs from scratching her eyeballs. He said that he would treat her for
a few months and then in a year operate again.
A year passed and Annie, now sixteen, was back. Dr. Bradford felt good and
hopeful that the operation would be successful. After many days of being
bandaged up, the bandages were removed. Afraid to open her eyes, Annie finally
did and was able to see. Not one hundred percent mind you, but she could
see detail and the doctor was smiling. Being able to see is another thing
I think that led up to Annie’s success.
Now that Annie could see she had no reason to go back to school. She had
nowhere to go, so the teachers let her stay and help with the younger kids.
She still attended classes and became so popular that she was voted Valedictorian
in her sixth and final year of school.
The day was so special, but all Annie could think about was what she would
do after school. Annie had no idea what she wanted, but a couple of teachers
said that they might be able to find her a job. Annie didn’t want to
think about it so left for the summer.
During a summer day, a letter came for Annie. It was from her principal asking
her to read the enclosed letter. The letter was from a man from Alabama asking
the Perkins Institute if they could recommend a good teacher for his six
year old daughter. She was deaf, blind, and dumb, her name was Helen Keller.
Twenty year old Annie decided to go. On March 5, 1887 Annie headed out to
Alabama. This, I think would have to be the third event that led up to
At first Annie thought she could get through to Helen, but later found that
it wouldn’t be that easy. Helen was a dangerous child, like an animal,
but what do you expect if you can’t hear or see? After a few days Annie
tried to get through to her by being gentle, but during one of Helen’s
rages she knocked out Annie’s two front teeth.
Annie decided to take the initiative and tried disciplining Helen. Something
of which her parents never did. She thought it would be best if she could
be alone with Helen so they moved into their own little cottage a few minutes
away from Helen’s parents.
Annie started teaching Helen the manual alphabet that she had learned from
Laura Bridgman. Helen was able spell things back, but still they had no meaning
to her. About a month after Annie’s arrival, Helen finally figured out
that the word Annie was spelling was
the word of the object she held in her hand. Soon after this Helen starting
writing in Braille. A lot of it didn’t make sense, but as she was learning
sentences it got better.
After about a year of working with Helen, Annie decided to take her to Boston.
They didn’t spend long there, but Helen soon became a celebrity. Everyone
was interested in Helen, who wouldn’t be?
During their long time of fame, Helen and Annie met a lot of neat, interesting
people including a very nice young man named John Macy. He worked for a magazine
and was one of the greatest supporters Helen and Annie ever had. When Helen
grew up, John decided that he would ask Annie to marry him. Annie at first
wasn’t sure because he was eleven years younger than her. She finally
said yes and they were married on May 2, 1905. Annie was now thirty-nine
and John was twenty-eight.
The marriage only lasted eight years before John decided to sail to Europe.
It wasn’t a divorce, but more of a separation. Annie knew that she could
count on him if she needed anything, so it wasn’t like they hated each
other, it just didn’t work out.
Annie and Helen spent the rest of their lives together touring the United
States and parts of Canada, talking to people and doing presentations. Annie
off and on during these years, got sick. Sometimes really bad and sometimes
just little colds. On October 19, 1936, it was different. A couple of days
before, Annie had seemed happy and was laughing and smiling just like her
old self. On that night though, she slipped into a coma
and never woke up again. She had quietly past away, but lived a good, long
life of seventy years. Helen was fifty-six.
I really enjoyed reading this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone
who likes an interesting true story. The book taught me a lot about the blind
and deaf and how they cope with their unfortunate handicap. It taught me
that even though you might have a handicap nothing is impossible. As long
as you put your mind to it you can do anything. Anyone who likes an inspirational
novel would love this book.