Essay Feral Child

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There were debates and social experiments speculating on the nature of human in the absence of various constraints, imposed by society, culture, and language.

The despotism perpetrated by white colonials of the era made cultural critics and literary circles (hailing from the same white populace) to find a sort of romanticism in the arbitrary yet harmonious lives of indigenous people.

In the house of Daumer, Kaspar learns to write and read fluently and also develops a penchant for music.

Bruno S, a street performer was in real life locked away for 23 years in various mental institutions, plays Kaspar Hauser to perfection.

The ‘wild kids’ in Francois Truffaut’s The Wild Child (L’Enfant Sauvage, 1970) and Werner Herzog’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) may have possessed the spiritual quality of Tarzan and Mowgli, but their encounter with human civilization is grounded in stark reality.

The Wild Child was based on the memoirs of century, Dr.Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 children’s story The Jungle Book told the enchanting tale of Mowgli, raised by wolves, a panther, and a bear in the Indian jungle.Later, Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912 created another archetypal ‘feral child’ character (raised in African jungles) in his Tarzan of the Apes.Unlike the magical tales of feral children like Jungle Book, Mononoke is unapologetically violent and doesn’t have trouble in conversing with ‘normal’ humans, although she’s still humanistic in lot of ways.Eventually, Mononoke prefers her wolf family to the bitter humans who are determined to engage in deforestation in the name of industrial progress (Mamoru Hosoda’s ‘Wolf Children’ was another interesting addition to this category of films.There was also due attention given to stories of ‘feral’ children within European soil itself, which was often alluded to parental abandonment and other combination of social factors.The cinematic versions of such real-life stories were far removed from the jubilant mood designed by Kipling and Burroughs.Itard came across the Wild Boy of Aveyron, a 12-year-old found wandering naked in the forests.Unable to speak, walking on all fours, and scarred, the boy was placed under the care of Itard who named him Victor.Rather than turn the film into a pleasing narrative of a once-famous historical character, Herzog offers an assortment of human behavior – ranging between genial and ghastly – to illuminate the enigma and mystery surrounding the entire human condition.Kaspar’s blank-faced vulnerability simply brings more profundity to Herzog’s philosophical inquiry (the aesthetics, however, are more stylized than Truffaut’s Wild Child).


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