>>Wolf Children

Wolf Children.

: Wolf Children.

Wolf Children

Many strange children were found in the world. They were called wolf children. These children had grown up without any contact with human society. The three most mysterious of them that I am going to show about were Kamala, Viktor and Kaspar.

12-year-old boy was captured. His movements resembled the movements of wild animals. The boy was naked. The boy was small for his age. He was deeply tanned and covered in scars and scratches from his life in the forests. He could not speak and did not react even if shouted in his ear; He refused to wear clothes, ripping them off whatever the weather. He would only eat familiar food such as potatoes or walnuts. He walked uncertainly. There was no connection between his mind and his body, and that he reflected on nothing, he had no imagination, no memory. Itard began by using a system of rewards and punishments. At first, Itard rewarded any sound Victor made. Using simple painful method, over some months Itard taught Victor the names of some household objects. Itard tried every way he could think of to teach Victor language. Used letters, Itard would spell out words like "bring book" and then demonstrate the action to Victor so that he would understand. Victor, however, was strangely wooden even in the use of the limited vocabulary he had learnt - as if the words did not have any meaning. When after five years of tuition, Victor's progress remained on very low level, Itard had to admit defeat. Itard handed Victor over to the care of his housekeeper who faithfully cared for him until he died in his forties, house-trained but still half-wild, fearful and mute.
Kamala was very similar. The girl seemed to have no trace of humanness in the way she acted and thought. It was as if she had the mind of a wolf. She tore off any clothes put on and would only eat raw meat. She only came awake after the moon rose. Kamala never smiled or showed any interest in human company. The only emotion that she showed was fear. Even her senses had become wolf-like. Singh claimed her eyes were super sharp at night. Her hearing was also sharp - except, like Victor, she could not understand the human speech. Gradually, Singh trained Kamala to accept other human ways, teaching her to eat normal food, to sleep with the other children and to welcome the company of fellow humans. However, when it came to teaching her to speak, Singh struggled. With Kamala, progress was slow. After several more years, her vocabulary had increased. In addition, Kamala's words were only partly formed and her grammar stilted. But Kamala would only pronounce half the word. Kamalas progress, at the age of 16, after nine years in the care of the orphanage, she still had the mind of a two and a half year old.

A strange boy was found in Nurnberg. He was about 16 years old and when given paper and pencil, he wrote the name Kaspar Hauser. He was taken into custody. The custodian took Kaspar into his house and watched him. He had an innocent smile, but that was all his face would express, and he did not know how to use his fingers at all. When he tried to walk, he stumbled like a toddler. Kasper learned to talk in broken sentences. He could only eat bread and water; other food would not stay with him. He did not seem to be aware of the difference between men and women at all. He was capable of speech, but it was mainly incoherent. He was able to tell the mayor that he had lived in a cell in Nuremberg all his life and he did not know if it had been day or night. Kaspar showed some similarities with children who are learning language, and had made considerable progress in reading and writing. However, he was not a wolf child that Kamala and Victor. He had been caged - therefore he had learnt little about human society until he had been released at the age of 16.

The most important feature shared by the children was that none of them could speak - and they all had tremendous difficulty learning to speak once captured. The children could hear - and so were not simply deaf - but they did not understand human voice excluding Kaspar. Almost equally surprising, the stories of wolf children suggest that walking upright is not an innate skill in human infants. They also were afraid of their captors. A final characteristic shared by the wolf children was that they seemed somehow to lack memory and self-awareness. They could make simple associations and learn to recognize familiar people and situations. However, they seemed unable to reflect on the past or the future. Only one of them, Kaspar, was able to develop the ability to speak, write, and was interested in human company. He appeared to be the most successful in learning how to talk, but Kaspar had not been raised in the wild. The early experiences of children greatly influenced their capacity to learn later.

Wolf Children.
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