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Meet Amazing Americans Activists & Reformers Helen Keller
Keller reading a Braille book and smelling a rose
Keller reading a Braille book and smelling a rose

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The Other Senses

Keller used smell and touch to know the world. She said that "the atmosphere is charged with countless odors." Each place, time, weather, and thing had its own unique smell. Keller could tell, by smell, what building she was passing, when it was time to eat, when it was raining, or when the grass was being cut. She thought the smells of New York City--crowds of people and lots of traffic--were oppressive. She much preferred the smells of any garden to the busy city.

And then there was touch. Keller said "My hand is to me what your hearing and sight together are to you…" Her palms and fingertips were the most sensitive and easy to use for touch, but touch wasn't limited to her hands; the sense of touch was also "in every part of the body ".

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