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Secrets Of A Wild Child: George Herbert

1101 words - 4 pages

George Herbert Mead was an American Philosopher and a Social Theorist. He was born in 1863 in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Mead had a religious upbringing. After working as a grade school teacher and surveyor for a railroad firm, he attended Harvard University to study philosophy and sociology. Upon completing his Masters, Mead taught at the University of Michigan and later Chicago. Mead was a naturalist and consequently Darwin had a strong influence on many of his researches. Mead is renowned for his theory of development of self and his concept of “I” and “Me.” The character Genie, in the film Genie: Secrets of a Wild Child, exhibits and validates Meads concept of self and the development of self.
The film Genie: Secrets of a Wild Child is about a girl who had been kept in isolation for over a decade. She was abused and tied to a potty chair, in a confined room, prior to her discovery on November 4, 1970 by a social worker. After her discovery researchers wanted to see if a nurturing environment was able to compensate for her barbaric upbringing. For the next four years she became a test subject for psychologists, psychiatrists and linguists from all over the world. She was apart of various experiments and was constantly being assessed by numerous researchers. For majority of the four years, Genie lived with the Rigler family. David Rigler was one of the psychologists working on her case. However in 1974, due to the lack of scientific findings, the National Institute of Mental Health revoked funding for the research. Subsequently, less than a year later, Genie moved back to live with her widowed mother; as her father had committed suicide upon the authorities finding her.
Mead constructed a self reflective idea that consisted of an “I” and a “Me.” According to Mead, the “I” illustrates the unorganized and impulsive facet of an individual, which is present from birth. This is accurate as when Genie first began to speak, the sounds she made were spontaneous and were based on impulse rather than comprehension (Garmon, 10:50). Moreover Mead cited that the “Me” is the objective feature of the individual that is the result of people communicating symbolically and learning to view themselves from the point of view of others. When the authorities found Genie, she only recognized her name (1:48). Based on Mead’s concept of “Me” this was expected; as her name was probably frequently used around her by her parents. Both the “I” and he “Me” anticipate and interpret a response. Mead states that the “I” reacts and institutes a response. The “Me” comprehends and objectifies the action. Thus once actions of the “I” have been identified and materialized, they are no longer considered the “I”; instead the actions have become the “Me” (Brym, 91). After Genie’s initial response to the stroller being presented to her was to push it; her following responses also included pushing with the addition of playing with it (Garmon, 7:15). This is evidence that once a...

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