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Genie and Nell

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Submitted By weekat000
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Nell and Genie Comparison

Background Story:

* What happened to them? * They were both isolated from the world. In Nell’s case, the isolation was much less severe because she was able to grow on her own. She was more self-sufficient than Genie was. Genie was completely dependent on someone else. She didn’t have the ability to completely grow. * How were they found? * Nell’s mother was found dead one day by the man who was bringing her groceries. That same man found Nell after she made a noise in the back room. He went back to town and told the policeman about her. The doctor (Lovell) followed the policeman and then met Nell. * Genie was found after her mother escaped her house and found the police and brought them back to the house. They found her sitting on a potty chair. * Why were they isolated? * Nell’s mother isolated her and her sister because she was raped when she was younger, and didn’t want her girls to grow up in the same terrible, hateful world that she grew up in. She wanted her girls to be safe. * Genie was isolated because her father thought she was mentally disabled. He didn’t want people to know about her, so he locked her up. * What were the circumstances/details? * Nell was living on her own in the forest in the mountains. She was over twenty years old, and she was able to fend for herself. She chopped wood by herself, so she was strong, she could feed herself, and she was obviously doing well on her own. Her mother, even though she isolated her, taught her how to live by herself, and how to do things independently. * Genie was found at the age of thirteen, locked to a potty seat, alone in her room. She had the mental capacity of a child. She couldn’t talk. She could barely make noise. She had a very hard time walking and using her motor skills. Apparently, she had been abused every time she made a noise, so she stopped making noises. She was malnourished, and was very badly off.

Psychologists/Doctors

* How did they work with them? * Nell was able to live in her own environment with very little disturbance. Doctor Lovell and Dr. Olson lived nearby, concealed by the trees, so that it seemed like she was still living the same. However, Dr. Lovell did communicate with her, and tried to begin to understand the way she spoke. Dr. Olson set up video cameras and such inside of her house to see how she lived, what she did, etc. * Genie was taken from her home and put into “Children’s Hospital,” where every day she was worked on by multitudes of psychologists, doctors, nutritionists, social workers, etc. to see what was needed to be done with her. She was never given a chance to connect with any of the people helping her because she was interrogated so much.

* Where did they work with them? * Nell was worked with in her home, where she grew up. * Genie was worked with in Children’s Hospital, then in one of the doctor’s homes, then she was sent to live with different foster families. * Conflicts, questions, problems, challenges, successes, research… * Nell had only months to prove to the court that she was able to live by herself. If she didn’t prove it, she would have to live in a hospital, just as Genie ended up being. And when she was taken to the hospital, she regressed back into the way she was when she first met Dr. Lovell and Dr. Olson. She was subdued, she had moments where she would just panic. She was most comfortable in her own home, whereas Genie thrived on the attention she received from the hospital – probably because she wasn’t being abused, she could learn without the threat of someone locking her up. Nell learned things in her environment better than Genie did. She began picking up language as Dr. Lovell and Dr. Olson began interacting with her more. * With Genie, they didn’t know if she had been mentally handicapped from the beginning of her life, or if she became mentally stunted because of the isolation that she survived. They didn’t know how to handle her, really. * Role of the media * For both of them, the media was pretty much kept at a distance. Genie was kept in a hospital, so media wasn’t allowed near her, and as soon as the media started trickling in around Nell, they took her to a hospital so that she would be protected from the media. In both cases, the media knew about the two girls, but they never really got a chance to see them.

Symptoms of Isolation

* Behaviors * Nell acted as though she were around seven again, and would play with her dead sister late into the night. She would begin rants about things that Dr. Lovell would try to understand, and she would keep talking until he did understand. * Both Nell and Genie began hoarding things. Genie hoarded liquids at her house, and Nell would grab multiple things that she was trying to understand, sort of hoarding, but not always keeping. * When she was found, Genie acted inhumane. She was biting herself, she would claw and spit. She couldn’t talk. While in the hospital, she would try to understand new things, like bones, by putting them up to her face, and to her lips in order to try to comprehend what the world was.

* Reactions to people/new experiences * When Nell was in her home, she would react by acting like a wild woman. She would flail her arms and jump up and down screaming, apparently in gibberish. But when she went to the hospital, she completely shut down. She wouldn’t talk, she wouldn’t react to anything. She simply sat on her bed and stared into space. * When placed in new situations, Genie first thrived, while at the hospital. Because she was away from the place where she was so abused, she felt safe, and could begin to learn. She found the new people interesting, and she used them as an opportunity to learn about the world. But eventually, in some foster homes, when she discovered that not everyone was a kindred spirit, would stop talking or stop opening her mouth in order not to be abused. * View of the world * Nell was taught to hate the world, so the see the world as a terrible place because her mother taught her so. Her mother taught her that all men were rapists and that they shouldn’t be trusted. Nell believed that Dr. Lovell was her guardian angel. * I don’t think anyone can really say how Genie viewed the world. I don’t think she could comprehend what was going on; I don’t think she could fully understand the world with what she had to go through as a child. * Language/communication * Both had difficulties relaying messages to other people because neither could communicate in “English.” The doctors first thought that Nell wasn’t speaking English, because the way she spoke was completely different than the way we speak. Genie was never taught how to speak, so what she learned was from the doctors that were helping her afterwards. Nell eventually learned how to speak, I think to an extent. It helped that the doctors understood her specific language, but she also picked up things from the world around her. Genie never fully was able to speak. She could say words, she could send messages, but she couldn’t speak fluently.

Progress * How well did they progress? * Nell progressed a lot. While she was able to live on her own before, she became more civilized, and she was able to have friends. At the end of the video, she had people over to celebrate her birthday, and she was able to communicate, to prepare for them. Nell was more “normal” than Genie was. * Genie didn’t progress very well. She began by progressing a lot, she was learning words, she was learning about her environment, she was meeting people, but eventually she reached a wall. She couldn’t completely grasp language, when she was placed into the foster homes, she regressed back into not talking, and she would close her mouth in order for her not to throw up. She was eventually placed into a group home for adults in order to gain the help and support that she needed.

* Was the “research” a success? * I don’t think in either case the research could be considered a success. Neither case provided significant evidence for or against anything. In Nell’s case, they wanted to show that she was able to live by herself and provide for herself, and they did prove that. In Genie’s case, they talked about how there was a “critical period” of language, but that wasn’t the only thing they researched. But in both cases, more effort was put into treating them like humans rather than experiments or research.

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