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Influences: Feral child Victor

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on 3 March 2016

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Transcript of Influences: Feral child Victor

Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron
A young 12 year old Victor was examined and studied by Jean Marc Gaspard Itard shortly after being found in the Woods of Aveyron (South France) Naked, filthy, and unable to speak any understandable language (Harrison).
Itard worked with Victor in order to turn him back into a 'normal' civilized person.
Influences: Feral child Victor
Jean Marc Gaspard Itard
Young medical scientist known as an educator of the deaf
Captivated by Victor and attempted to essentially bring him back into society (Harlan).
For Itard, there were two tests of what it meant to be human: the ability to feel empathy and to use language. Victor could do neither ("Wild Child: The Story of Feral Children").
Victor of Aveyron influence on Mary Shelley
The obvious connection between Mary Shelly's
Frankenstein
and The Wild Boy of Aveyron is their name: Victor; which is clearly no coincidence.
The story of The Wild Boy became popular very quickly when he was brought to Paris in 1801, where he became the subject of great public interest, scrutiny, and debate (Rodas).
Shelley used this ongoing topic of this so called feral child and used his ideas to shape Victor Frankenstein's creature.
Cont.
Towards his early development, the creature could have been considered as a human infant and, just as Victor, was raised in an isolated environment without any human emotion (Kucich).
The creature's neglect from his 'father', Victor Frankenstein, is similar to that of Victor of Aveyron's (Roads).
The creature asked V. Frankenstein to create another monster to be his companion, but Victor refused (Shelley 159). The creature is literally begging his creator to make him a companion to show him the necessary care and nurturing everyone needs.
The argument of whether Mary Shelly's
Frankenstein
supports the ideas of Nature versus those of Nurture is often debated with the connection to The Wild Boy.
Itard's many tests on Victor prove that many 'normal' traits are obtained both by nature and nurture. The ability to empathize and feel emotion between one another was proven to be a natural trait while the ability to speak and process sound was not.
With the creature, his ability to feel emotion was almost instantaneous once he felt the neglect of his creator, but for the creature to understand and to speak language, he had to learn it himself- following Itard's reaserch.
Feral Children
Children who have lived with limited or no human contact due to abandonment or confinement by their parents (Harley).
Popular examples in fiction include Tarzan (Tarzan of the Apes) and Mowgli (The Jungle Book). Although these depictions of feral children adequately depict a human child raised in the wild without humans, they do not, "portray the circumstances of abuse and neglect nor the serious effects this kind of upbringing can have" (Harley).
Tests
Itard's goal was to civilize Victor by teaching him to speak and to communicate human emotion (Harley).
Victor failed at every attempt to speak beyond a basic level
He was able to empathize towards Itard's house keeper Madame Guérin, who essentially served as Victor's mother (Harlan).
Works Cited
Harley, Robin. "Feral Children: Definition, Stories &
Cases." Web.

Lane, Harlan. "The Wild Boy of Aveyron." Harvard
University Press. 1997. Web.

Kucich, John. "The Oxford History of the Novel in
English." Google Books. Nov. 2011. Web.

Rodas, Julia M. "Frankenstein's "Monster": Autism
and Articulation in Mary Shelley's Novel and Beyond." Academia. Aug. 2011. Web.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. Oxford:
Oxford UP, 2000. Web.

"Wild Child: The Story of Feral Children." YouTube.
TLC, 4 July 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.
Start at 5:21
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