You will be glad to hear that my experiment is working out finely. I have not had any trouble at all with Helen, either yesterday or to-day. She has learned three new words, and when I give her the objects, the names of which she has learned, she spells them unhesitatingly; but she seems glad when the lesson is over.
March 20, 1887.
This appeal is to a certain degree valid; for, indeed, those additional harmonies of language and beauties of thought which make style are the gifts of the gods. No teacher could have made Helen Keller sensitive to the beauties of language and to the finer interplay of thought which demands expression in melodious word groupings.
At the same time the inborn gift of style can be starved or stimulated. No innate genius can invent fine language. The stuff of which good style is made must be given to the mind from without and given skilfully. A child of the muses cannot write fine English unless fine English has been its nourishment. In this, as in all other things, Miss Sullivan has been the wise teacher. If she had not had taste and an enthusiasm for good English, Helen Keller might have been brought up on the "Juvenile Literature," which belittles the language under pretense of being simply phrased for children; as if a child's book could not, like "Treasure Island" or "Robinson Crusoe" or the "Jungle Book," be in good style.
Then they began to wander about and hunt for nuts, and climb the trees to shake them down, and worked much harder for their own pleasure than they had done for their master's bidding, for it is a strange truth that fairies and children never complain of the toil and trouble they take in search of amusement, although they often grumble when asked to work for the good of others.
The Frost Fairies [From "Birdie and his Fairy Friends"] by Margaret T. Canby
After Laura's education had progressed for two months with the use only of raised letters, Dr. Howe sent one of his teachers to learn the manual alphabet from a deaf-mute. She taught it to Laura, and from that time on the manual alphabet was the means of communicating with her.