Helen Keller Quotes

Helen Adams Keller, 1880 – 1968

Born: 27 June 1880, Tuscumbia, Alabama
Died: 1 June 1968, Arcan Ridge, Easton, Connecticut

Keller fell sick at 19 months with “brain fever,” now believed to have been meningitis. She wasn’t expected to live, after recovering she had lost all vision and hearing. The six-year-old daughter of the family cook developed a set of sixty signs to communicate with Helen. Over the next few years her temper made her difficult to live with, and Keller and her father traveled to Baltimore for medical advice. They were introduced to Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time, who suggested the Perkins Institute. A former student of the school, Anne Sullivan, became her companion through school and throughout Sullivan’s life. Helen learned to communicate several different ways, by age eight she was a celebrity, when she graduated from Radcliffe in 1904 she was the first deaf and blind person to acquire a bachelors degree. She was a founder of Helen Keller International, devoted to research in vision. She was also a founding member of the ACLU, a member of the IWW, and the Socialist Party; her politics are normally not mentioned. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and was depicted on the reverse of Alabama’s state quarter in 2003.

Helen Keller quotes:

A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.
    Helen Keller

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
    Helen Keller

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
    Helen Keller

As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.
    Helen Keller

As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill.
    Helen Keller

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
    Helen Keller

Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.
    Helen Keller

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition aspired, and success achieved.
    Helen Keller

College isn’t the place to go for ideas.
    Helen Keller

Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.
    Helen Keller

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.
    Helen Keller

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.
    Helen Keller

I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace.
    Helen Keller

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.
    Helen Keller

I read “King Lear” soon after “Macbeth,” and I shall never forget the feeling of horror when I came to the scene in which Gloster’s eyes are put out. Anger seized me, my fingers refused to move, I sat rigid for one long moment, the blood throbbing in my temples, and all the hatred that a child can feel concentrated in my heart.
    Helen Keller

I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.
    Helen Keller

I understand how it was possible for Spinoza to find deep and sustained happiness when he was excommunicated, poor, despised and suspected alike by Jew and Christian; not that the kind world of men ever treated me so, but that his isolation from the universe of sensuous joys is somewhat analogous to mine.
    Helen Keller

If it is true that the violin is the most perfect of musical instruments, then Greek is the violin of human thought.
    Helen Keller

If we spend the time we waste in sighing for the perfect golden fruit in fulfilling the conditions of its growth, happiness will come, must come.
    Helen Keller

Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.
    Helen Keller

It is a mistake always to contemplate the good and ignore the evil, because by making people neglectful it lets in disaster. There is a dangerous optimism of ignorance and indifference.
    Helen Keller

It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.
    Helen Keller

It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.
    Helen Keller

It is hard to interest those who have everything in those who have nothing.
    Helen Keller

It is not possible for civilization to flow backwards while there is youth in the world. Youth may be headstrong, but it will advance it allotted length.
    Helen Keller

It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.
    Helen Keller

It’s wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears.
    Helen Keller

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.
    Helen Keller

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.
    Helen Keller

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
    Helen Keller

Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others.
    Helen Keller

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
    Helen Keller

Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.
    Helen Keller

Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.
    Helen Keller

Many people know so little about what is beyond their short range of experience. They look within themselves – and find nothing! Therefore they conclude that there is nothing outside themselves either.
    Helen Keller

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
    Helen Keller

Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.
    Helen Keller

No loss of flood and lightning, no destruction of cities and temples by hostile forces of nature, has deprived man of so many noble lives and impulses as those which his intolerance has destroyed.
    Helen Keller

No matter how dull, or how mean, or how wise a man is, he feels that happiness is his indisputable right.
    Helen Keller

No one has a right to consume happiness without producing it.
    Helen Keller

No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.
    Helen Keller

Not the senses I have but what I do with them is my kingdom.
    Helen Keller

One can never consent to creep when one has the impulse to soar.
    Helen Keller

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
    Helen Keller

Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
    Helen Keller

People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.
    Helen Keller

Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.
    Helen Keller

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature…. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
    Helen Keller

Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world.
    Helen Keller

Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousand of miles and all the years you have lived.
    Helen Keller

So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.
    Helen Keller

The best and most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.
    Helen Keller

The best educated human being is the one who understands most about the life in which he is placed.
    Helen Keller

The bulk of the world’s knowledge is an imaginary construction.
    Helen Keller

The greatest tragedy in life is people who have sight but no vision.
    Helen Keller

The highest result of education is tolerance. Long ago men fought and died for their faith; but it took ages to teach them the other kind of courage; the courage to recognize the faiths of their brethren and their rights of conscience.
    Helen Keller

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.
    Helen Keller

The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.
    Helen Keller

The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.
    Helen Keller

The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important, than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus — the sound of the voice that brings language, sets thoughts astir and keeps us in the intellectual company of man.
    Helen Keller

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