"Genie: A Modern Day Wild Child"

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Can a nurturing environment compensate for severe social deprivation? Sure it can help a child feel safe and loved and gain a general sense of belonging, but to compensate for cruel and devastating behavior, I don't feel all the nurturing in the world could compensate. One may be able to provide a happy and safe environment with friends, school, and guardians along with necessary social activities to stimulate their minds but one can never change the deep painful memories a child like Genie had instilled upon her.

The researchers, teachers, and therapists that worked with Genie had no background to really go on so they learned through trial and error. Some of the many researchers, for instance David and Marilyn Rigler, seemed to genuinely care for Genie and wanted to help as opposed to "dissect" her. Genie was taught how to have a tantrum instead of physically hurt herself and was eventually able to turn her anger and thoughts in to some words.

The Rigler's helped to enroll Genie in nursery school; she learned sign language, attended school events and rode the school bus with other teens.

The question concerning the investigators, as whether they "treated" or "exploited" Genie, I am assuming one is speaking of the head of the Children's Hospital and of that research team. I feel that in the beginning the researchers honestly wanted to help treat Genie and learn from her but towards the end she was absolutely exploited. The poor child needed love and affection not a news crew in her face from morning till night. When they realized what Genie's actual conditions and limitations were, I feel she became more of an experiment for future use. The research team didn't seem to care whose foster care Genie was in and did not...



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