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"THE CIVILIZING OF GENIE"

Anne
Alla
Aurelina
Carole
Ilkania
Medjina
Muhammad
Antoine
Xiao


Anne Pierre
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Genie is living proof of human resiliency

Human resiliency means someone who fights to recover from adversity or illness.  According to the text  “The Civilizing of Genie“ by Maya Pines, Genie is living proof of human resiliency”. Genie was a child who was kept in isolation for 13 years. However despite all deprivations, all abnormalies she still stayed alive.

Genie’s life in her parents’ house was a sad story. She was living there about 13 years not like a normal and desired baby.  According to the article “ this girl from California lived in a narrow room. She had never socialized”.

When she was isolated, Genie was suffered from language deprivation. Nobody spoke to her because her mother and brother were scared of her farther who was opposed to any conversations with her. For this reason Genie did not have the faculty of speaking.

Also she was deprived of health. She looked like a child who was suffering from malnutrition because her height and weight were under age. Physically Genie was abnormal. The author says; “ she was a pitiful, malformed, incontinent, unsocialized and severely malnourished creature”.

She did not have the freedom to act as she wanted due to the potty seat, where she was left all day long. Moreover, she could not move, except for her hands and legs. At night Genie did not have the possibility to sleep in a bed. She had only the straitjacket that her father put her into. Besides, Genie’s father beat her.

After Genie was discovered, many little changes appeared. Not as a normal child but step by step and slowly. That means Genie did not have the ability to do everything by herself quickly and easily. She took time to assimilate, understand and to practice.

Finally, a few months after her training, Genie started to speak with her poor language and vocabulary, using two words only. Later on she began to socialize with the world and her environment a little bit by observing; She took time to read the products in the market. She learned by exploring; she did not stay at the same place when she was visiting. She also learned by working; she enjoyed spending time out of her area and in different places. Moreover, she became curious: she was interested by anything: she wanted to know some details about many things. And she answered questions.

This sad story let people see and understand how somebody could suffer from physical and mental deprivation. Genie had ability to fight against suffering. This is related through some details as: the different changes that appeared after Genie was discovered. Despite all abnormalities and handicaps Genie made a great effort to get well. For this reason the author says “ Genie is living proof of human resiliency”.

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Alla Tsibulskaya
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Genie is living proof of human resiliency

Human resiliency means someone who fights to recover from adversity or illness. According to the text “ The Civilizing of Genie” by Maya Pines, “ Genie is living proof of human resiliency”. Genie was a child who was kept in isolation from the rest of the world for 13 years. However, despite all deprivation, all abnormalities, she still stayed alive.

Genie was born to a family that had a crazy father. Her father was a schizophrenic. It was a serious illness, which made him hate his own children.  Two of his children died as the result of abnormal relationships with their father. Genie was a fourth child; she didn’t die, but her life was terrible.

From the age of twenty months and during twelve years, Genie lived in a small room. She was closed from the environment many days. Her body didn’t know any moving because her room was very small. As a result her muscles atrophied. Also her bones suffered abnormal development, were   fragile and could break. Genie couldn’t stand like all normal children. Consequently, Genie suffered from moving deprivation.

Genie grew up without any real contact with other humans. Her parents didn’t teach Genie to read or speak. They didn’t even talk with their daughter. As result she was suffering from language deprivation. Her brain wasn’t developing because according to the text  “The Civilizing of Genie” by Maya Pines, if children are not speaking normally by the age of 12, they couldn’t speak normally after the age of 12. 

Furthermore, Genie was often hungry. Her nutrition consisted of mostly milk and baby foods. It is a fact that this abnormal nutrition couldn’t give a normal development for an organism. As Pines says on page 2,  “It is surprising that she survived at all.”

Eventually in 1970,the social worker in the welfare office took one look at Genie and called her supervisor, who called the police. Genie was sent to the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital for tests.  Her parents got punished for abusing their child, and finally Genie’s tortures from the parents’ side finished.

Nevertheless, Genie became scientific material for the psychologists, linguists, neurologists, and others who study brain development. They started doing the scientific experiments on her brain. They wrote research, which illuminated the different aspects of her development. Scientists gave the proof of their own theories and proved them by   practicing on Genie.  They used Genie only as a scientific sample, but Genie again gave proof of human resilience.

After Genie was sent to the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, she left her family. She met new people who were working in the hospital.  Genie opened a new world for herself, which was closed from her for many years. She looked at the environment with curiosity. Genie had a thirst for learning and development. And the scientists gave her this possibility. They began their job for Genie’s development.

Various physicians, psychologists, and therapists were brought in to examine her during those first months. At first, she could recognize her own name and the word “sorry”. During her first seven months of freedom, Genie had learned to recognize many new words.  Next step, Genie began to speak.  After several months she progressed to occasional three word utterances. Only after four years Genie began to put words together; her speech became clear. It was progress for Genie because she had lost the time when the children have normal language development. It was another proof of human resiliency.

Indeed, Genie never had a normal family. She didn’t see love from her parents. Genie didn’t grow around the children that were happy with their families, and who got attention and love from their parents. Nobody kissed her as a mother is supposed to do. She lived her first 13 years in isolation from the rest of the world. Then, she was free, but she never had a family and friends.

In fact, Genie showed the great ability of her personality, the ability to survive through any kind of difficulties that appeared to be in her life. Her life was a proof of human resiliency.

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Aurelina Santana
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Genie is living proof of human resiliency

Human resiliency means someone who fights to recover from adversity or illness. According to the text "The Civilizing of Genie" by Maya Pines, "Genie is living proof of human resiliency." Genie was a child who was kept in isolation from the rest of the world for eleven and half years. However despite all deprivation, all abnormality, she stayed alive.

Based on this article Genie was twenty months old when her father isolated her in a small room without any social life at all. Genie’s parents had a difficult life. Genie’s mother was partially blind and applied for public assistance. Her father suffered from schizophrenia, and after a while he committed suicide.

Genie was kept in small room. She couldn’t stand by herself; she didn’t speak. She could only move her hands and feet. Genie was 13 years old when she was found. Her story attracted lot of attention from psychologists, linguists, neurologists and others who study brain development. When Genie was found she was in a bad condition. She was skinny; she weighted only 59 pounds. She was malformed, and she didn’t know how to chew. She also couldn’t straighten her arms and legs.

Genie was an abused child whose circumstances deprived her of living a normal childhood. Genie wasn’t exposed to any social life. During the time she was captive she couldn’t learn how to speak, write, and read. As result of this isolation, she was prevented from having a normal life.

Although Genie was deprived of her liberty, her determination to explore this new world made her want to meet new people. When she went to the store she checked the meat and plastic containers. She also walked in front of every house in order to see who opened the door and let her in. Later on Genie began to recognize some words and to speak. She also began to answer using short words or by moving her head. Genie also put some words together and learned how to repeat what she heard. During this process Genie produced some verbs and later she developed three-word sentences. Even though Genie didn’t speak fluently; she learned part of the language.

Genie is living proof of human resiliency because even though she was neglected and abused, she still lives. She showed an incredible amount of determination. Many human beings under her condition would have given up. For this reason I admire her because she is an inspiration for many people who give up their dreams easily.

Genie had a terrible childhood, because her father deprived her of having a normal life in which she could develop her social, intellectual, physical and emotional life. Genie struggled to survive and integrated herself into society. She managed to survive and still keep her natural curiosity and love for people alive. Her resilient spirit was proof that she was a survivor.

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Carole Guerrier
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Genie is living proof of human resiliency

Human resiliency is a method in which someone fights to recover from adversity or illness. According to the text “ The Civilizing of Genie” by Maya Pines, “Genie is living proof of human resiliency”. At the tender age of 13 Genie was detached from the rest of the world. Her parents had kept her isolated. She had no contact whatsoever with the outside world. However despite all deprivation and all abnormalities, she survived.

Genie was locked in a small room with no one to talk to, nor food to eat. This was her worse nightmare because she couldn’t protest by fear of what her parents might do. If they could lock her, she somehow thought that they were capable of doing more. According to the text, Genie’s only pastime was to go sit alone everyday on her potty seat. She couldn’t do more because they had put her into a type of straitjacket, and in an uncomfortable room. As a result, she could only move her hands and feet.

Genie was treated as a stranger among the people of her family. Her family was the first one to treat her that way. His father allowed neither her mother nor her brother to feed her. As a result, she suffered from malnourishment, and therefore, she was always hungry.

This experience affected her both mentally and physically because she grew up surrounded by parents who offered her nothing but hatred and misery. As she became older, she developed some type of retardation and malformation because she remained in one place and didn’t communicate with the outside world. She always salivated and spit on her clothes and body. All the things that she had to learn and to train for during the first 13 years of her life were totally forgotten. Moreover, she lost all acquired knowledge such as grammar rules and sentence order. Overall, she was reduced to an illiterate, and someone who was living somewhere but the earth. She was unaware of what people needed to know and have in order to be qualified as human beings such as seeing, talking and playing with others. She remained a prisoner and someone ignored and abandoned.

No one knew about her situation and therefore there was nobody that could help her find her way out of it. But, later on, when she was finally discovered, she was provided with great care. After some therapy, she was able to learn again and move on with her life. That is, she could recognize new words and things and string two words together because her grammar was improved. The most amazing thing was the fact that she no longer acted like a retarded person. She had found her way to a new world and improved life because she was given the chance to see and communicate with people. The author named her as of being “a living proof of human resiliency” because she recovered from deprivation and abnormalities.

My response, after I finished reading the text is that, I was quite shocked because I couldn’t believe that some parents could actually treat their own offspring in such ways. Somehow, I felt like I was in the middle of a terrible dream in which I didn’t want to wake and face the reality. To that, I felt depressed and ashamed of Genie’s parents’ actions. They were inhuman because they had no feeling whatsoever. I considered them to be abnormal parents because they didn’t let Genie lead a normal life. They took away her childhood. Unlike all children who were able to pursue their childhood dreams, show their talents, abilities, or skills, Genie wasn’t given that chance to show what she could do as a child or more precisely, as a 13 year old.

Given all the misery Genie went through, especially by her parents, I can only say that having a child requires of people a lot of flexibility and understanding. They have to be able to see the difference between punishment and mistreatment. Also, they have to know how to love and understand that child. God didn’t create people to suffer and be abused the way Genie was, left alone to be misunderstood by their own parents. Parents have to know that their job is to provide their children with love, care, patience, and so on. No child should live a life or be raised as Genie was.

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Ilkania Coronado
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

The Civilizing Of Genie

Human resiliency means someone who fights to recover from adversity or illness. According to the text “ The Civilizing of Genie” by Maya Pines, Genie is living proof of human resiliency. Genie was a child who was kept in isolation from the rest of the world for 13 years; however despite all deprivation, all abnormalities, she still stayed alive.

Genie was the fourth child who survived her father’s abuse. Her father was a schizophrenic. Genie began suffering since her infancy. From the age of 20 months until she was 13.5, Genie lived a life that can be described as out of this world. When Genie was a baby her father put her on her potty seat every day.  She was only able to move her hands and feet; she was put into a sort of straitjacket. No one was allowed to talk to Genie. She was often hungry. If she made any noises her father got mad and beat her. Everybody in her family spoke in low voices for fear of her father.

In 1970 Genie arrived at Children’s Hospital in critical condition. She was malformed and unfriendly. Later on she started to present signs of pubescence. This stage for Genie was terrible. She couldn’t even walk, and she did not know how to chew. Most of the time she was quiet, and it seemed as though she were out of this world.

When Genie was admitted as a patient, many physicians, psychologists and therapists examined her. Although they tried to help Genie, they also exploited her for their own scientific benefits. During all this time Genie showed resilience because she continued to listen to the doctor’s advice and she started to feel better little by little. After several therapies Genie improved a lot. She had learned to walk. Genie walked around the store and looked at the meals. She also observed other things around her with a lot of curiosity. She tried to find out what everything around her was. By June of 1971 she had begun to speak.  She put a few words together, but at the same time the therapists recognized that although Genie could put a few words together, she couldn’t produce a sentence.

On the other hand according to the therapists, Genie was able to produce verbs. And she could express what she wanted or what she didn’t want. For example when she held the pillow and someone asked her what it was, she repeated “ pillow.” When asked if she wanted to see the family’s cat, Genie replied “no, no cat”!

Through years of special training and rehabilitation, Genie made a lot of progress. Genie’s case was a main point for journal articles and a book. Everybody was amazed at her improvement. Genie’s resilient spirit was so strong that she kept on advancing regardless of her past deprivation.

“The Civilizing of Genie” by Mayas Pines says, “ Genie is living proof of human resiliency.” Genie is an example of thousands of children who are abused by their own parents or who experience diverse hardships in life. In this case Genie was fortunate because the help that Children’s Hospital provided for her helped her survive not only physically, but also emotionally.

When I read this article I felt very sad. I couldn’t believe how Genie’s father had abused her physically, mentally and emotionally. How could it be possible to expose your child to this type of environment?

It was very interesting for me to learn about The Civilizing of Genie because I had never heard about a rare case of a human being who had grown up without any real contact with other humans. I also learned how children like Genie could survive or get a second opportunity to develop themselves and advance in life by getting professional help and therapy. On the other hand, after reading this article I also realized how fortunate I am to have parents like mine who always cared for me and never treated me badly.

Examples similar to Genie’s repeat themselves many times in society. Child abuse has become common. I think the government and other officials should take a more active role in the prevention of this type of abuse. We need to care for our children, and we need to make sure children start growing up in happier and healthier environments.

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Medjina Milord
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Genie is living proof of human resiliency

Human resiliency means someone who fights to recover from adversity or illness. According to the text "The Civilizing of Genie" by Maya Pines, Genie is "living proof of human resiliency." Genie was a child who was kept in isolation from the rest of the world for 13 years. However, despite all deprivation, all abnormalities, she is still alive.

In that case, her parents isolated Genie since infancy. Her father abused her because he hated children. Everyday she got beat up by her father for the least mistake. She grew up in an environment where she did not make any contact with other children. That means she grew up lonely. Genie never learned how to talk and how to behave as a real human being. In other words, she wasn’t able to learn anything like a human and also she behaved like a wild animal.

Genie’s life was terrible. She was left to sit on her toilet seat day after day. She could move only her hands and her feet. She was tired of sitting and had nothing to do. Genie was hungry and her father didn’t feed her well. For meals, he gave her mostly baby foods and milk. Genie couldn’t talk aloud. If she made any noise, her father beat her. He never talked to Genie. Genie’s brother followed his father’s instructions and did not speak to Genie either. Genie’s mother took her to the office of public assistance. The social worker discovered Genie’s condition and this lead to the beginning of her treatment. As a matter of fact, Genie was excited to be with other children after she was freed from. She also was so happy to learn things she didn’t know before. At first, she could recognize only her own name and the word "sorry."

Genie had a California researcher named Susan Curtiss who worked with her. Curtiss took her to visit places in order to begin a relationship. She took Genie to the supermarket, where Genie walked around the store and looked carefully at the meats and the plastic containers with curiosity. Genie became friendly and learned about people and the world. All these examples show that Genie is living proof of human resiliency.

During her first seven months of freedom, Genie began to speak by stringing two words together on her own. As an example: she said, "Big teeth," "little marble," "two hand." Little by little, Genie started to progress. After some more time, she produced some verbs: "Curtiss come," "want milk." Genie also had no trouble writing her name, and drew a number of pictures based on experiences she had had. For Genie, learning was becoming something very important.

My response about the article that I read is that Genie had a very different life from other children because her father isolated her from everyone. She lived in a small room from the time she was born. Life was terrible for her and she made a lot of efforts to become resilient. I thought Genie’s father was sick because a father who is not sick couldn’t treat his own child so badly.

Therefore, I felt sad when I read this article because I had never heard or known anyone that had ever faced a situation like Genie’s. That situation was terrible and it was unbelievable for me or anyone else to learn about that situation. The experience that Genie confronted in her life with her father was sad and horrible. I think in the future, Genie will learn how to manage her life. In addition, she will not let any other children be abused by their father or relative.

Genie made a lot of efforts to overcome her situation, and was therefore, a resilient human being. She spoke a little bit, learned how to use words, and how to develop her intelligence. Genie became friendly and wanted to be with others. As a result, Genie was coming a real human being who knew when she was in society. Genie became personable, learned new things and progressed little by little.

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Muhammad Khan
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

The Civilizing of Genie:
Overcoming Adversity

Human resiliency means someone who fights to recover from adversity or illness. According to the text, “The Civilizing of Genie” by Maya Pines, “Genie is living proof of human resiliency”. Genie was a child who was kept in isolation from the world for 13 years. However despite all deprivation, all abnormalities, she stayed alive.

Every infant child is very sensitive to its surroundings. As infants grow their mind develops and they learn many new things. For example they learn how to communicate with language, how to walk and all other things necessary for all individual beings.

In Genie’s situation, that was the most important and necessary thing that she did not receive from the environment nor from her family. The most horrible being that shaped her into who she is today was her own father. For example this atrocious person placed his own infant child in an isolated small room, tied her up and made barking sounds and growled at her. Every day she sat in the same chair and could not move her hands and feet. She didn’t have enough to eat; she didn’t know how to speak any languages, and she could not even walk.

Genie’s mother, who was badly blind, had an argument with her husband, and then she ran away and took Genie with her. The social worker that worked with Genie’s mother called the police. Genie didn’t even know how to communicate; she only knew how to whimper. In for the abusive environment that her father created, Genie could not learn anything. Many psychologists were interested in her intellectual capacity; at first they didn’t even know how to test her capabilities.

Genie showed human resiliency because she fought to recover from adversity and illness. Genie resisted the torture that her father gave her. Curtiss, a psychologist, helped Genie to recover as much as she could. Basically, she helped Genie to become socialized, and taught Genie vocabulary. Genie began to learn simple words like hello, hi, yes and no. Also, she would identify some of the objects during a small trip with the help of Curtiss.

It was very difficult to teach Genie because many psychologists didn’t know where to begin, even though they hade tested her in many different ways. Genie started to show signs of her improvement and she showed human resiliency.

MY RESPONSE

I didn’t even know there are these kinds of people living with us. I am just wondering why a person would lock his own daughter and tie her up in a small room for 13 years. Many psychologists are helped Genie to recover as much as she could. If you could look at it in a different way you could see the psychologists were abusing her too. The government gave them funds to support her; but they used her for their self-interest.

All in all, Genie is a child who was kept alone from the real world. Despite all her internal and external problems or conflict, Genie was still able to stay alive. Genie’s actions certainly show signs of resiliency or signs of fighting adversity.

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Antoine R. Daity
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Genie is living proof of human resiliency

Human resiliency means someone who fights to recover from adversity or illness. According to the text "The Civilizing of Genie", by Maya Pines, Genie is "Living Proof of Human Resiliency". Genie was a child who was kept in isolation from the rest of the world for 13 years. However, despite all deprivation and abnormalities, she stayed alive.

Genie lived in total isolation. Her father mentally and physically abused her. Her mother was blind and couldn’t be of any assistance to her. She was left on the potty seat day after day and could only move her hands and feet; sometimes she was forgotten there. Or sometimes she was placed in a straight jacket, and caged in a crib that had wired mesh sides. She was often hungry; her mother was terrified of her father. Genie’s mother was blind and couldn’t take care of her. Her mother also didn’t speak to her, so there was a language barrier. Because Genie wasn’t spoken to, there was no language for her to communicate, much more to comprehend. Genie was in total isolation.

The discovery of Genie aroused intense curiosity among psychologists, linguists, neurologists and others who study brain development. Under research discovery it was revealed that Genie was severely malnourished because she was seldom fed. Her meals consisted of milk and baby food. She was underweight for her age. She didn’t know how to chew because the little food she had gotten was in liquid form, that is milk and baby food. Later on she was examined by various physicians, psychologists and therapists.

After intense research of her brain function the neurologists, psychologists linguists discovered and examined Genie’s wave patterns. Genie had damage to the brain's left and right hemispheres. The left hemisphere handles most language functions like speaking, writing, reading and comprehending the spoken word. The limited language Genie knew she used to remember her past and told details of her confinement. It was observed that she used the right hemisphere of her brain for both language and non-language functions. She was proven to be good at talks involving the right hemisphere, such as recognizing faces, colors and size.

In summary of Genie’s numerous tests, it was proven that her performance had increased consistently over the years. Her I Q increased consistently from 1971 to 1977, but she made less improvement by the left hemisphere. According to Maya Pines’ text, at the age of twenty, Genie performed on a three year old level on the test of the auditory memory on the left hemisphere task.

During Genie’s formative years, her entire childhood, she was malnourished, abused, unloved, denied any toys or companionship. Her language was very little; she used gestures. After she was found, Genie was taught the American Sign Language to compliment her spoken language, which was very little. I believe Genie was living proof of resiliency becaus she was isolated from her family and society both physically and mentally. She was misused and abused by her father, yet she survived, such a dramatic episode of her life, and her personality stayed strong.

Physicians reveal that language is required if a child is to develop into what is considered a healthy, balanced, intelligent human being. With Genie’s life history in mind I once again would state that she was "Living proof" of human resiliency and recovery. She was robbed of her human identity, of freedom, of speech, of communication with society and of food and nourishment for her body. Her inability to walk and function as a normal human being was denied. As I read the article of Genie’s life, it really touched the depth of my heart and feeling to know the tragedy that Genie survived.

Genie was termed a resilient survivor of abuse. If possible I believe Genie’s father should be given the death sentence. I felt happy to know that Genie’s mother had gained custody of her and that her mother had regained her eyesight. They both, I believed went through years of continued therapy. Genie’s resilience was a miracle. She survived and progressed a long way with the help of others.

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Xiao Yu Wu
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Genie Is Living Proof of Human Resiliency

Human resiliency means someone who fights to recover from adversity or illness. According to the text "The Civilization of Genie" by Maya Pines, Genie is "living proof of human resiliency." Genie was a child who was kept in isolation from the rest of world for 13 years. However, despite all abnormalities, she still stayed alive.

Genie was isolated in a small room by her father who was a psychotic since she was an infant. Genie’s father didn’t allow her mother to approach Genie. Therefore, her mother didn’t have the opportunity to take care of her. Without her mother’s care, Genie always suffered from her father’s inhuman behavior. Every day Genie was tied by a harness. She was left on a potty seat; she could only move her hands. Sometimes Genie was caged in a crib for a whole night. Genie was always hungry; her father didn’t give her enough food, and she only could eat baby food and drink milk. Without enough nutrition, Genie’s body didn’t have normal development. Furthermore, Genie’s father prohibited her brother from talking to Genie. For this reason, Genie lost the condition to develop her language. Because Genie lacked contact with the rest of the world, she had no language ability, intelligence or any social skills.

Genie was bereft of any opportunity to learn language and other skills since she was isolated. She could hardly talk. She could only whimper like a baby, even though she was thirteen years old when she was discovered. After she was found, Genie was sent to the Los Angeles Children’ Hospital for tests, and she learned how to walk. For example, she learned how to go to the bathroom during her first seven months in the hospital. Those things would be easy for a normal person to learn, but going to bathroom and walking were difficult for Genie to finish. She had never learned in her past thirteen years. Maya Pines says that when she was found, Genie was pitiful, malformed, incontinent, unsocialized, and malnourished. Even though she was in puberty, Genie didn’t have obvious characteristics for her body. But she never gave up, Genie caught up the chances to learn.

Genie was isolated from the world for thirteen years. She had missed lots of things outside her world. Genie had missed the normal period for developing her language. At first Genie only spoke single words, but after four years of teaching, she had begun to put two words together on her own. When she could not clearly explain her thoughts, Genie used gestures to show that what she wanted to say. Genie was making progress in her new life in this world. Even though she could not grow normally as other children could, she kept trying her best to change herself well. Genie showed particular ability on her resiliency. She was a miracle. Genie caught the good opportunity to develop those deficits. After she was treated intensely, she had changed obviously not only her physical features, but also her language and intelligence. It was not fair for Genie to be bereft of thirteen years; however, she caught the opportunity to renew her life after she was found. So after I read about Genie, I understood that I should not always yell that the homework is hard, I should think about it and develop my potential ability to solve the problem. From Genie’s story, I advise all the parents to take good care of their children and give them a normal growing period. Let the children have a happy childhood.

Genie was an innocent victim. She was pitiful and unlucky, and she lost that critical period to develop the ability of her language and intelligence. But after she was taken out from suffering, she tried to learn how to walk, eat, and communicate in order to fit into this world. Despite the fact that she had encountered that huge tragedy in her life, fortunately she was still alive. She showed human resiliency by fighting to recover from adversity.

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