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Genie : a scientific tragedy

Author: Russ Rymer
Publisher: New York, NY : HarperPerennial, 1994, ©1993.
Series: HarperPerennial.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : English : 1st HarperPerennial edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
When a young girl and her nearly blind mother wandered into a welfare office in Los Angeles in November 1970, it marked the end of thirteen years of terrible abuse. "Protected" by her deranged father, the girl, Genie, had spent her entire childhood strapped to a chair in the back bedroom of a virtually silent suburban house. She was small and withered, with a shuffling walk, she showed no perception of heat and
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Genie; Genie
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Russ Rymer
ISBN: 0060924659 9780060924652
OCLC Number: 29616957
Description: xii, 221 pages ; 21 cm.
Series Title: HarperPerennial.
Responsibility: Russ Rymer.

Abstract:

When a young girl and her nearly blind mother wandered into a welfare office in Los Angeles in November 1970, it marked the end of thirteen years of terrible abuse. "Protected" by her deranged father, the girl, Genie, had spent her entire childhood strapped to a chair in the back bedroom of a virtually silent suburban house. She was small and withered, with a shuffling walk, she showed no perception of heat and cold, and she could barely speak.

Her emergence into the world created great excitement among scientists of all descriptions, but especially linguists. Here was an opportunity to study a child who had grown up without language or any form of social training. She was an unusual and special gift, for she might provide answers to their unresolved questions about how the human brain acquires language.

As Genie began her life over with the rudiments - how to walk, how to chew, how to talk - her experience gave eloquent answer to those questions, and to a deeper mystery: what it means to be human.

The scientists working with Genie were unprepared for the profound effect she would have on their lives; she captivated all she encountered with her charming, compelling presence. They became her friends, companions, and family, showering her with attention, culture, and affection, until ambition, jealousy, and misunderstandings obstructed Genie's progress and led to her eventual disappearance.

Skillfully weaving the tale of Genie's hesitant progress toward adulthood with the bitter ethical debates over her treatment, Russ Rymer presents a deeply moving case study and explores complex linguistic theories in an accessible and entertaining nauative. Genie's story is illuminating and ultimately tragic. It is all the more extraordinary for being true.

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