As revealed in The Story of My Life, why did Helen Keller's reaction to Niagara Falls surprise people?

Expert Answers
durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Helen Keller has inspired many people and provides hope in instances of despair due to her life philosophy and ability, despite being blind and deaf since an illness as a baby, to "learn from life itself."(ch 7) The Story of My Life provides the reader with glimpses into her life before and after Annie Sullivan arrive to "set my spirit free."(ch 1)

On a visit to Niagara Falls, Helen feels "the air vibrate and the earth tremble" (ch 15)and this is what enables her to enjoy the experience. Helen may be limited as she cannot see or hear the Falls but to her "they mean everything." A person with all their senses often overlooks the effect of touch or smell which Helen often relies on and, as in this case, the vibration which is so strong that Helen can no doubt "sense" its power. People were then surprised at Helen's fine-tuned capacity for enjoying something that to them is so visual.