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Genie: A Scientific Tragedy de Russ Rymer

Genie: A Scientific Tragedy (edição: 1994)

de Russ Rymer (Autor)

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249585,019 (3.9)1
The compelling story of a young woman's emergence into the world after spending her first 13 years strapped to a chair, and her rescue and exploitation by scientists hoping to gain new insight into language acquisition.--Publisher.
Título:Genie: A Scientific Tragedy
Autores:Russ Rymer (Autor)
Informação:Harper Perennial (1994), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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Genie: a Scientific Tragedy de Russ Rymer

  1. 00
    The Playroom de Frances Fyfield (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Forced isolation of children. Neither are easy reading.

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The facts are these. In late 1970, a woman arrived at a social services office in California with her daughter. The woman, Irene, had almost entirely lost her sight and had taken a wrong turn while looking for services for the blind. But it was her daughter who caught the receptionist’s attention. It transpired that mother and child had managed to escape their home, where they had lived under the totalitarian rule of Irene’s husband Clark. The little girl, Genie, had spent her life in confinement in the back bedroom of their house, strapped to a potty chair and at night put to sleep in a crib which resembled a wire cage. Her father, who hated noise, had beaten her whenever she made a sound and so she wasn’t only unable to speak, but was unwilling to vocalise in any form. On top of this, she was severely malnourished, incontinent and psychologically underdeveloped. She was immediately taken into care at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where her nutritional needs were seen to, but her other needs were more complex...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2017/02/12/genie-a-scientific-tragedy-russ-rymer/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Feb 28, 2017 |
In 1970 at the age of 13, Genie was discovered by social services in California. Strapped to a potty chair, she was raised in social isolation, hidden away from the world. When discovered she was emaciated, malnourished and had little, if any, speaking skills. Scientists immediately flocked around Genie, wanting to study her. For four years she lived with one of the scientists, until funding dried up and he dumped her into state foster care. This book provides a chronology of the scientists who studied her, the science of linguistics and Genie's story.

Overall, I was not impressed by the authors writing style. It was often boring and uninteresting. The author spoke at length about the science of linguistics and provided countless information about the scientists. I wanted to learn about Genie, not necessarily the science of linguistics and the scientists who mistreated her. I felt that the author also treated Genie as an object rather than as a person. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Sep 26, 2011 |
My copy of the book was subtitled "A Scientific Tragedy," which was a much more accurate description of the contents. Genie is the pseudonym given to a modern-day wild child who was discovered in 1970 at age thirteen. Since toddlerhood she had been kept alone in a back bedroom, tied to a potty chair and beaten if she made any noise. At the time Genie was discovered, scientists were embroiled in controversy over recent theories about how children learn language -- and her doctors were thrilled at the opportunity that had fallen into their laps to conduct experiments that would prove their theories. But after three years, countless tests and a large amount of grant money, despite great progress in Genie's personal development, her language abilities seemed to have come to a dead end. The government terminated the grant money, and Genie was left to a series of foster homes where she was abused even further and denied contact with the doctors she had come to trust. She withdrew, and now lives a shadowy life in a group home for the mentally disabled.

This tragic story is told from the point of view of the doctors who worked with Genie during those three years of progress. As opposed to details about how the doctors worked with Genie, there are long descriptions of the various linguistic schools of thought. The author seems reluctant to concentrate much on Genie herself, probably out of concern that his book will only be exploiting her further. No one seems to agree on what exactly the Genie case may have taught us about how language develops, but everyone acknowledges that a troubled young girl got lost somewhere in all the scientific competition. Still, there's no denying that the story is fascinating, even if the author does make us squirm a bit at our own interest in this young girl's sad life. ( )
1 vote sophroniaborgia | Jun 26, 2011 |
Many textbooks include a sentence or two about Genie, a girl who was completely isolated by an abusive father until after puberty. This book gives much more information on the case. Without any language skills, Genie became widely known in the field of language development and related fields. Rymer fairly presents an interesting story and reports on the successes and the failings of scientists who saw an opportunity to develop (or refute) Chomsky's theories of language development more important than the needs of a fellow human being.
  mebrock | Jan 25, 2009 |
If you have an interest in "feral" children, the aftermath of child abuse or the ethics of child psychology, I'd definitely recommend at least trying the book. ( )
  nilchance | Jan 8, 2009 |
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The compelling story of a young woman's emergence into the world after spending her first 13 years strapped to a chair, and her rescue and exploitation by scientists hoping to gain new insight into language acquisition.--Publisher.

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