Film: Secret of the Wild Child
(YouTube [entire film in 5 parts. Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEnkY2iaKis] ,
Netflix DVD, on reserve at Ayala Library)
Do some internet research on Feral Children so you know about the topic.
You will need this information later when you write the review.
“The child at issue in this offering from “Nova” is Genie, a teen-ager who was taken from her parents in 1970 after spending most of her life in a sort of solitary
confinement, strapped to a potty chair. Her father seems to have been at best a lunatic, at worst a sadist; her mother was apparently weak and frightened. When Genie
(a pseudonym) was found at the age of 13, she could not speak and behaved in some ways like an animal.
“In addition to stirring the compassion of Los Angeles child psychologists, Genie presented them with an opportunity for what was known as the “forbidden experiment.”
The hope was that her sad condition would enable researchers to test the thesis that the ability to speak a language must be learned by puberty if it is to be learned
“But the question raised in “The Secret of the Wild Child” has less to do with linguistics than with scientific ethics: Is it permissible or even possible for a
researcher to act also as therapist or as surrogate parent? Was there an inherent conflict between trying to help Genie adapt to her new world and using her as
material for investigation?” (NY Times review)
At the end of your documentary review, connecting the film to course content, please address these questions.
1. How does this video expand on what you read in Chapter 40 of the Zulke and Kirley textbook for this course?
2. What did you learn about the scientists that you did not learn from the chapter? Do you think the scientists were unethical? What about Mrs. Butler? What about
4. What happened when the National Institutes of Health grant was no longer funded?
3. Write 1/3 page about how the scientists acted in the treatment of Genie. Compare it to the treatment of the Wild Boy of Avyron.
4. Where is Genie today?
4. How does it happen that we have feral children?
5. Write a paragraph on two of them you found in your research and describe their outcomes.
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