In her infancy, Helen Keller loses her sight and hearing. When she is seven, her parents hire Anne Sullivan, who herself was blind for 17 years, to educate her. Ignorance, depicted as an allegorical figure, seeks Helen as his victim, while Knowledge, a woman robed in white, struggles to raise Helen to the realm of spiritual freedom. Despite Helen's often unmanageable willfulness, her parents' tender care and Anne's patient instruction enable Helen to learn the names of objects and places through a system of signs. Later, through the efforts of noted educator Sarah Fuller, Helen learns oral speech. Meanwhile, Nadja, the daughter of an immigrant agricultural laborer, is unwilling to take advantage of educational opportunities in her school; although she has all her faculties, she is handicapped by Ignorance. After college, Helen meets some of the distinguished men of her time. Nadja, who works in a sweatshop, is rescued from an unpleasant incident by Josef, an immigrant violinist. They marry, but Josef, worn out by his failure to get work, dies before their child is born. Later, Nadja's child returns from World War I blind, and Nadja takes him to her childhood friend Helen for advice. Helen begins hospital work with Nadja to help with the rehabilitation of blind and crippled soldiers. Helen inspires councils dealing with the great world problems, and is seen horseback riding, in an airplane, and christening a ship. She sends words of cheer to farmers, laborers and immigrants. Finally, Helen, Nadja, and Josef as a boy appear on horseback leading a great concourse of people in a demonstration of the ideals of the world's new era.