Sociology Essay – Genie

Sociology Essay – Genie

Four of the “Primary Agents of Colonization” are family, school, peer groups and media (Elements of Sociology 2013). Until the age of 13, Genie Wiley was exposed to none of these. A normal child learns the typical standards of a society from their family. They are praised when they do something right and ridiculed when in the wrong. Genie had only been exposed to a “negative sanction [which is] a reaction designed to tell [someone] they have violated a norm” (Elements of Sociology 2013).

For Genie this was done when she spoke, which taught her it was against the norm to speak and hindered her learning. Without school and media she was unable to socialize with peers and discover the different cultures and classes in society. Because Genie was raised in such an odd way, she most likely experienced “Culture Shock” when she was first released from the room she was held in. I would think Genie would be confused or even scared when seeing someone from a background other than Caucasian because that is all SSH?s known her entire life.

In our society today, it is natural to see people of different race and class because we were brought up surrounded by different people, unlike Genie who was completely closed off from the world. When preferring to culture genie was more of an ‘animal’ than a human raised in society, enforcing the fact that nurture is incredibly important as a child in order to develop at a normal rate. Genie was raised in an environment consisting only of “nature” and only developed natural traits. Genie was only able to develop the “id” out of the “Sigmund Freud Personalities. These are “instinctive drives that we are born with as part of our unconscious mind” (Elements of Sociology 2013). Because of this, she had no social experiences or interactions with anyone other than her fathers abuse and was not able to develop “Mead’s Sense of Self. Mead argues that the self consists Of an ‘l’ and a “me. ” Genie had neither. She was unable to act on her own terms so if anything, she might have the slightest hint of ‘I’ when “she was beaten for making noise” (Secrets of the Wild Child 1 994) because she recognized that it was wrong.

She had a physical relationship with her father and there were no significant or generalized others in her life, which took away from her “me” development. Mead also created the “Developmental Sequence of Childhood,” but Genie could not pass the first “preparatory stage” which is as simple as mimicking and imitating others until he got out of her childhood home. Without nurture in her life, Genie was simply a being with no purpose or ability to change any factors around her. Once Genie was taken in by the scientists everything changed.

She was finally given the chance to live in society and be nurtured by other people. Genie had began to develop the “preparatory stage” of “Mead’s Developmental Sequence of Childhood,” and was able to mimic the scientists and learn “one hundred words” (Secrets of the Wild Child 1994) by the first spring they had her for. “Her mental age increased by a year every year’ (Secrets of the Wild Child 1994) but nevertheless she was still behind and different compared to a child at that learning level.

According to the scientists “Genie didn’t seem to be able to put words together’ (Secrets of the Wild Child 1994). She had only the ability to convey messages in non-grammatically correct forms. The scientists believed that Genie had missed a critical period in her life where learning language was necessary in order to fluently speak in the future. Although she was learning new things and forming relationships with her scientists, Genie would never become a normal functioning person in society.

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