This chapter starts by indicating the importance of the day Helen Keller first met her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Young Helen, at the tender age of seven, is filled with anticipation and a sense of something significant about to happen as she waits on the porch of her house. She compares herself to a ship lost in dense fog before the arrival of her teacher. Her yearning for 'light' is immense, paralleled with her yearning for guidance, knowledge, and understanding.
When they meet, Helen misinterprets Anne's touch for her mother's before realizing it's a stranger who has come to change her life in ways she cannot yet comprehend. The morning after, Helen is introduced to finger-spelling by Miss Sullivan using a doll. Helen is intrigued by the finger play and imitates it enthusiastically. She does not yet understand that each spelling corresponds to an object or idea.
Helen then narrates an incident of her frustration when she couldn't understand the difference between two words. In anger, she breaks the new doll given to her, feeling a sense of satisfaction after her outburst. But her learning continues as she and her teacher venture outside.
The pivotal moment happens near the well-house where, under the falling stream of water, Miss Sullivan spells the word 'water' in Helen's hand. This surge of understanding awakens a part of Helen's long lost in the silent and dark world she was confined to and provides a breakthrough in her learning. Her joy knows no bounds as she is eager to learn more.
Returning home, Helen is filled with remorse on realizing the value of the doll she had broken in anger earlier. She spends the day learning many new words, and every object she touches seems to brim with life. The day ends with a joyful Helen in her crib, reliving the joys of the day and eager for a new day to come, a stark contrast from the anger and frustration she felt before her breakthrough in understanding.