Domesticating Victor of Aveyron: the French Mowgli

Victor in a tree (Film 1970)| Courtesy of Pintrest

Winner of the Fall 2017 StMU History Media Award for

Best Explanatory Article

The Jungle Book is one of the most iconic Disney movies of all time. It’s a story about a young boy named Mowgli, who was raised in the jungle by wolves after his parents were killed by a tiger named Shere Khan. As Mowgli grew older he began to form a timeless bond with his best friend Baloo, and they went on wild adventures together. This story has captivated audiences since 1967. But long before the Bear Necessities, on January 9th, 1800 in Aveyron, France, a real child was discovered in the woods. He was found walked erect and completely naked except for a mangled shirt that showed no modesty. But, unlike Mowgli and his jungle friends, the young boy wasn’t able to communicate with anyone except in strange, meaningless cries. The young boy appeared to be between the ages of six and eight, with no evidence of having had any previous human encounters, and no real certainty on how he had been surviving. The local authorities sent him to an orphanage, but he escaped. He was then found again, and scientists began to take an interest in this “unfortunate being” who was “unhousebroken.” So Jean Marc Gaspard Itard and his team took the boy and began a series of experiments on him to see if this “savage” could be domesticated.1 

The Jungle Book | Courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

After taking the young child in, Itard began to observe the different things he had taught himself to do to survive. In one instance, the young boy was sitting by a fire and grabbed a potato out of a boiling pot. When a man tried to get him to let it cool, he scarfed it down. As time passed, he ate it faster and refused to rationalize with the people that were trying to interact with him.2 Shortly after these observations began, word traveled rapidly of a wild savage found in Aveyron, France. Scientists, psychologists, and even Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother were interested in meeting the child. Lucien Bonaparte sent a letter to Itard in Aveyron stating, “I want the boy here and instruct you to send him without delay.”3 

After they took him to Paris, some scientists wanted to conduct experiments on him to see if they could “domesticate” him. Some psychologists and scientists argued that it was a selfish thing to do. They also did not believe that the child should be domesticated just because he had all five senses. These professionals felt that it was morally wrong to try to force the young boy to learn skills even though his desires did not stretch beyond his own physical needs.4

Although there was a lot of disapproval received from other scientists due to the conducting of experiments on this boy, they continued to try to help him progress towards domestication. These efforts were partly due to the world-view of these scientists, namely the world-view of the French Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. In this period, the ideals of the Enlightenment pervaded French society. It gave the intellectual elite of France confidence that, through applied science, France could perfect its social, political, and economic institutions.  So, as Itard and his team began to help this boy talk, and read, and express himself more civilized, they were doing that applied science that was leading French society toward its perfected goal. This particular concept of perfection seemed very attainable to many French people. They were just emerging from a decade-long political experiment of the French Revolution, where the goals of liberty, equality, and brotherhood were on the lips of all. And now, with a certain order restored by Napoleon, the business of perfecting society could advance in smoother form. The restructuring of the French law code under the Napoleonic Code assured all French citizens the equal protection under the law and illustrates the ideals of the Enlightenment, that a scientific understanding of citizenship and law required this egalitarian view of both. So it was because of these fundamental ideals of applying science to social and political institutions for their improvement that the young boy was helped my Itard and his team. While these same ideals led some to the formation of micro-utopias, such as feminist, socialist, and Christian utopian experiments, for others it meant medical experimentation using shock therapy, and other experiments like the ones conducted on the “Young Savage of Aveyron” in order to help fix him. This idea of “correcting” or “fixing” individual’s flaws flows naturally from the same Enlightenment ideals that fostered “fixing” the political institutions of the ancien regime, the illness being a monarchy and the “fix” being republicanism. Victor gave the French a way to test the foundations of the social, educational, and philosophical institutions that were being formed. This time period brought hope to humanity, hope for growth, belief in change, and who better to be the poster child for this fundamental belief than a wild boy’s domestication.5 

Victor of Aveyron | Courtesy of Wikipedia

As Itard and his team continued testing the “Wild Boy of Aveyron,” they moved him to a Deaf and Mute institution in the hope that it would help him progress faster in learning how to communicate and express himself to others. Many months passed, however, with very little progress for him. In fact, they had come to realize that the young boy’s eyesight was heavily impaired, so much so that he could not tell the difference between a painted object and the real thing. Doctors also found that his coordination could be compared to that of a retarded child’s.6 

After months of tests, most of Itard’s colleagues and other researchers all seemed to agree that the young boy had “incurable idiocy.” It was after these results that many scientists began to reject the idea of domesticating the boy at all. Many scientists in France thought the idea of domesticating this “idiot savage” was really an intangible goal; this was primarily due to the childhood development theory of this period.7 Their conclusions came about due to the parallel of Native American studies and research on how so-called primitive people react to being colonized by the French. These studies concluded that Native Americans and other people from primitive societies were limited in how much they can learn and how far they can progress toward fully civilized behavior. Itard’s colleagues believed that there must be a parallel between the way that natives are innately limited and way that this feral child is limited. It was discovered that they both tended to have the same natural instincts and selfish behaviors. These selfish and primitive behaviors are said to have been developing since the boy was young and they were taught due to the environment he was raised in, much like the Natives. This led scientists to believe he was too old and to accustom to his lifestyle to ever be able to adapt to the French civilized way of life. This was mainly due to the fact that social scientists believed it was the parental roles in our lives that help form the nature of who we are, and at a certain age they believe our ability to change who we are at the core becomes less likely. Scientists not on Itard’s team deemed that, due to the age and mental state they saw him in, it just did not seem logical that this child would ever make the intellectual progress that the researchers desired to see for him.8 

It is quite tragic how quickly scientists were to give up on the young boy’s intelligence and hope for his domestication. The leading researcher that remained, Itard, made five goals that he hoped to accomplish with the boy: they wanted to give the boy the ability to respond to other people; to train his senses; to extend his physical and social needs; to teach him to speak; and to teach him to think clearly.9 As Itard continued working with the boy, progress began to occur. He started eating food with spoons and would no longer grab food out of the boiling pot with his bare hands.9 

After seeing these results, Itard moved into the next phase of his research. The “wild boy” finally received his name, Victor. It was in this phase of research that Victor finally said his first words, “Oh Dieu!”(Oh my God), which is an exclamation of happiness.11 Although he could only communicate with random noises, Victor was finally expressing himself. The goals Itard had set for Victor were starting to be met. Itard’s progress had led him and his research team to believe that Victor did not actually suffer from idiocy, but rather, he was merely developing. They compared him to a toddler learning to talk.12 

The progress was not fast enough for the people watching over Itard’s research. After Victor failed his language course, his language therapist was extremely disappointed because his results were much lower than they had been from his previous results. After that failure, Itard had to take responsibility for it and find a new way to push Victor to work harder and push his limits. Victor began to receive shock treatments, which started to increase his results tremendously. These shock therapy sessions were very common in the nineteenth century, but their results could be deadly due to the electric current and massive amounts of drugs that were given to patients when they received this inhumane treatment. Nonetheless, Victor could now identify shapes and colors and was also able to match objects that looked alike.13 Not all the effects of the shock therapy were positive. Victor began to act out and had a hard time controlling his anger. As time passed, these outbursts of rage kept occurring. Eventually, Victor started to fall into convulsions because of his rage. Itard then began to fear that in trying to help this young boy become domesticated, he was instead giving him an incurable disease (epilepsy).14 

Shock Therapy| Courtesy of Wikidot
Victor was not the only one who experienced cruel treatment to force results. In the nineteenth century, mental health patients in France were treated very poorly. Many of the patients in this time tried to report the mistreatment, but due to the stigma that these people had, no one would listen. It was not until the mid-1850’s that reform movements began to address the mistreatment of mental patients in asylums, which was after years of “bloodletting, blistering, dousing patients in either boiling or cold water to ‘shock’ them, sedatives and using physical restraints such as straitjackets.”15 Much like Victor, many of them also went through shock therapy and began to experience outbursts of rage leading to epilepsy. This shock therapy consisted of basically inducing someone into a coma by using a massive amount of drugs or an electric current. This treatment would occur about three times a week depending on what the condition of the patient was and whether results were being seen. As times passed, more and more people began to oppose this method of treatment, but many patients had already begun to suffer from the mood swings, depression, and uncontrolled rage that came as a result of these treatments.16 

The shock treatment was ended because of concern about Victor’s health. Victor was just beginning puberty. For a while, conducting research on this stage of his life became challenging. This was due to Victor’s stubbornness. He refused to reason with anyone or listen to anyone when he would become frustrated or unhappy during tests. There was one instance recorded where he became so frustrated that he threw the objects he was being tested with across the room and broke down in tears in frustration. Nonetheless, after a few months had passed and Victor began to be less irritable and more cooperative, Itard moved into the next phases of his research where Victor was taught to read. Itard also began to hold cards that had a wide variety of objects written on them, and Victor learned to process, read, and retrieve the objects written on the paper. At first, he had to have the card in his sight to find the object, but as time progressed he could just retrieve it from his memory. Itard was very pleased with the growth and progress that the young boy had undergone in his time with him.17 

Shortly after this, Victor’s progress slowed down as his rage continued to worsen. In one instance, Itard decided to conduct a test in order to see if Victor truly understood what the words meant. Itard moved him to a different room with similar objects. He showed Victor a card that said “book” and Victor went to the door and refused to retrieve any of the books that were already in the room. This was because he wanted the book he had been retrieving during his testing in the other room. The Wild Boy had learned, but not what Itard thought. He became able to catch patterns and became comfortable with these patterns. So when he was moved from his environment for further testing, he wasn’t familiar with his surroundings, and became enraged and unwilling to work or cooperate with anyone. These events led Itard to conclude his research, because he felt that there was nothing else to research. As Victor continued the onsets of puberty, Itard felt that he would have to wait for years before Victor could resume his progress.18 

Victor being examined(film)|Courtesy of Deviant Art

In Itard’s concluding report where he reflected on the research, he wrote three negative conclusions: “1. because he cannot hear the speech of the other and learn to speak himself, Victor’s education will always be incomplete. 2. His intellectual progress will never match that of children usually brought up in society. 3. His emotional development is locked by the profound impossibility of channeling his awakening sexuality toward any satisfactory goals.”19 

After Itard had concluded his experiment, many continued to debates as to whether his tests were a waste of time. There were people who tried to claim that the experiment was successful. Many scientists asserted that the reason that Victor struggled so much to become “domesticated” was that he was innately incapable of becoming civilized. Others argued that Victor’s environment was to blame for his lack of progress. In this period, people were thought to be who they inevitably were either because of their innate nature or because of the environment in which they were nurtured: the nature-nurture debate. Those of the nature side of the debate believed that criminals were people who were defective innately, and therefore would inevitably be imprisoned. This is how many saw Victor as well, saying that he was initially a savage and would always be one regardless of educational rehabilitation. But Itard’s team argued that humans aren’t naturally disposed to be one way or another, and that one’s nurturing and educational experiences offer much hope to someone like Victor.20 

Itard saw Victor as a boy with potential when no one else saw any worth in this so-called “savage.” But Itard pushed social sciences and science to new limits providing new lenses for people studying education, autism, idiocy, and simply how people development. Itard accomplished the improvement of Victor’s sight and touch and enlarged his perspective on the world. Victor also learned how to communicate with others and he learned some written signs. Finally, this extraordinary “Wild Boy” learned how to build friendship and “love others.”21 

The world naturally hesitates to accept anything new and out of the ordinary, but sometimes it is extraordinary individuals like Victor and Itard that push the limits of the world around them. These two proved many people wrong; they said Victor was incapable of learning anything because he was an idiot and nature made him like that, so he was just stuck like that. But, Itard refused to believe that, and he helped push Social Sciences to new heights.  

Sadly, Victor lived the rest of his life like a zoo animal. They never gave this young boy the chance to develop himself fully. The state kept him alive, and no one noticed him when he was gone. He died in early 1828. There are no records of his death, and it is uncertain as to how he died. It is quite tragic that this child did so much for the social sciences, but he was treated as nothing more than a science experiment. In that case, I believe that is why he is known as “The Forbidden Experiment.”22 

  1. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 1, 4, 8, 9, 13.
  2. Nancy Yousef, “Savage or Solitary: The Wild Child and Rousseau’s Man of Nature,” Journal of the History of Ideas 62, no. 2 (2001): 245, 249.
  3. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 15, 18, 20.
  4. Nancy Yousef, “Savage or Solitary: The Wild Child and Rousseau’s Man of Nature,” Journal of the History of Ideas 62, no. 2 (2001): 245, 250.
  5. Gregory Claeys, The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge Press, 2010), 63-64, 66.
  6. Nicole Simon, “Kaspar Hauser’s recovery and autopsy: A perspective on neurological and sociological requirements for language development,” Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia 2, no. 2 (1978). 250, 252, 259.
  7. Murray K. Simpson, “From Savage to Citizen: Education, Colonialism, and Idiocy,” British Journal of Sociology of Education 28, no. 5 (2007): 571.
  8. Murray K. Simpson, “From Savage to Citizen: Education, Colonialism, and Idiocy,” British Journal of Sociology of Education 28, no. 5 (2007): 565.
  9. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 159.
  10. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 159.
  11. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 87.
  12. Nicole Simon, “Kaspar Hauser’s recovery and autopsy: A perspective on neurological and sociological requirements for language development,” Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia 2, no. 2 (1978): 88, 90.
  13. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 90, 91.
  14. Robert E. Drake, “The History of Community Mental Health Treatment and Rehabilitation for Persons with Severe Mental Illness, Community mental health journal 39, no. 5 (2003): 427.
  15. Robert E. Drake, “The History of Community Mental Health Treatment and Rehabilitation for Persons with Severe Mental Illness, Community mental health journal 39, no. 5 (2003): 427, 433.
  16. Encyclopedia Britannica, May 2016, s.v. “Shock Therapy,” by Darshana Das.
  17. Murray K. Simpson, “From Savage to Citizen: Education, Colonialism, and Idiocy,” British Journal of Sociology of Education 28, no. 5(2007). 570, 574.
  18. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 198.
  19. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 197, 200, 201.
  20. Encyclopedia Britannica, May 2016, s.v. “Feral Child,” by Michelle Jarman.
  21. Roger Shattuck, The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1980), 201.
  22. Murray K. Simpson, “From Savage to Citizen: Education, Colonialism, and Idiocy,” British Journal of Sociology of Education 28, no. 5 (2007): 572, 574.
Domesticating Victor of Aveyron: the French Mowgli
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Domesticating Victor of Aveyron: the French Mowgli

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36 Comments

  • This was a really sad and unfortunate story. It makes you question what you would do if you found a little boy living alone in the wild. The things they did to him were horribly immoral, but I think they really thought they were doing good. The pictures you used were really powerful and the article itself was great and really thought invoking.

  • Man, I had no idea a little boy could survive such a long time in the wilderness. It really shows how animalistic we can be. You did a great job covering all aspects of his experience as well as the reactions people bore when they found him. I’m sure anyone can read this and derive exactly what you’re trying reach and enjoy reading it, too. It’s still heartbreaking to say the least.

  • You know, I never really understood the Disney hysteria. What made Disney so great, or their stories so great? I couldn’t tell you, but they seemed to have leave a mark in history in some way. I’ve never seen the Jungle Book and I wonder if I should ever. I might just be stubborn, stupid, or ignorant of a great tale when its right before me, who knows.

  • I find it insane how a disney story was not just a story, but was based off of actual factual evidence. I never thought that a story I very much enjoyed as a child was an actual reality and not just something made up. This is a very well written, and scientifically detailed article that depicts the background for a story I had thought I knew about. Thank you.

  • this was a great article that you have written. the fact that a child at such a young age survived in the forest for years is so interesting. it was very disturbing how the scientist we treating the child as if he wasn’t even a human being just some sort of experiment. I think they could have put a little more effort in helping victor instead of giving up on him so fast.

  • This was a very interesting article. I think that the research the writer did and being able to incorporate it was great and they did such a great job on it. I knew very little about this story before reading the article. The fact that a child of this age could survive in a forest for so many years is very shocking. ANd also the fact that the doctors were to give up on the child is very disappointing because in order for him to survive for that amount of time should automatically show that he had some intelligence. Overall this was a very well formatted article.

  • Amazing article!! I was hooked until the end, I was extremely curious as to how the story, Victor’s story would end. It is amazing that society will not accept anything new until something or someone comes to push the limits. Victor must have been extremely frustrated, for rightful reason! I can’t imagine living like the scientists had him living. What a tragedy that no one knew what happened to Victor, what occurred to him after the experiments were over and how he died.

  • It’s terrible to think that such cruel methods were used to try and “domesticate” Victor. While it is understandable that these were the methods of the time, looking back at it from our point of view, it still seems so inhumane and unnecessary. It makes me think about what would happen if we were to find another child like Victor in today’s day and age. Would he or she be treated any better?

  • I have sometimes wondered how would a person be if he or she grew up without human contact, and apparently Victor is the case. It’s surprising how he managed to survive on his own for so long, and I wonder how was it that he ended up living in the wild. His case truly caused debate in the field of social science, but helped its advancement a lot. How sad, however, that after Itard’s experiments he was forgotten and lived as a “zoo animal” as you describe. Excellent article!

  • This is so interesting. Movies like the Jungle Book have always made me wonder what a person who knows nothing of civilization would be like. It was so cool to hear about how he would behave not knowing anything about what life can be like after you have all your basic needs cared for. This was heartbreaking and inspirsing at the same time.

  • This was a really well written article. I had never heard of this topic before and I am glad I came across it because it was really interesting. It is sad and horrible how he was experimented on and treated like an animal. I think there is a lot of information in here but that is due to excellent research so good job and great article, it was really nice to read.

  • Concerning his abilities at the time when he was first being tested and analyzed, I am curios to understand why he a lack of coordination when he was forced to live within the dangers of a jungle. Especially having to compete with other animals and weather to stay alive. I also wonder whether his background was fully true, concerning his parents and him being raised in the jungle. I also like how there was a direct connection between the French wanting to experiment on him and the Enlightenment occurring at the same time, with the French wanting to learn how to perfect the human.

  • I liked how you caught the reader’s attention by relating your topic to The Jungle Book. Your work shows that you put in much research in exploring how Victor was treated and what society at that time thought about it. How a person could deliver shock treatments to young boy is unimaginable and the fact that the reason for his death is unknown is very suspicious.

  • This is a very interesting article. I did not have any previous knowledge on who Victor of Averyon was until reading this article. The article did a good job of providing vivid details. It is crazy that a boy at such a young age was able to survive on his own. It is crazy that the scientists and the doctors gave up on him so soon without having any patience. Overall, this was a very good article.

  • This article is a very sad one; how with the expenses of a human life humans can place the knowledge gained from it above the life of the person. I had never heard of this experiment before reading this article. I had thought about it before though, I was sure this type of things had occurred. It’s just a little sad that in real life the boy could not achieve to be civilized.

  • This was an incredible article, i did not know about victor. its amazing how he survived on his own so long, now that’s God. Anyways this story makes me curl my toes because people are so selfish. they wanted to do experiments on the boy for their own knowledge. not really wanted to help him but more so have a better understanding on why he acting the way he did . everything they did was for their interest and it makes me sick. i bet victor wished he never met them. the fact the victor was able to live by himself with many creatures, but when he met humans they were the ones harming him. humans are at the top of the food chain. shaking my head

  • What astonishes me is that this child, Victor, was able to survive on his own in the wild. Even with the amount of intelligence and lack of coordination that the scientists said he had. I hate the fact that so many scientist and psychologists gave up on the child right away after seeing no improvement. And even the Itard who saw potential in the child, still used shock therapy to help him improve although it caused more problems. Overall, this was a well written article and I loved the way you grabbed the readers attention with your introduction.

  • The fact that a child could survive so long in a forest at such young age is mind blowing. That alone should prove that he had high intelligence. Also, it is extremely sad that the doctors were willing to give up on a child. Leads me to wonder how often that happens now a days. So heartbreaking that they treated this young boy, Victor, like an animal in a science experiment. This article explained many topics, while not straying away from the main topic. Awesome read.

  • This story is so tragic and heartbreaking. First, I must applaud you for writing an excellent article that evaluated a lot of important subjects. I always try to push to break the stigma on mental illness even today when people still believe depression is a “choice.” But it is hard to ignore, and it should always be remembered that there was cruel practices for mental illness in recent years. My heart goes out to Victor. First because he was never able to lead a normal life or develop fully because once a child outgrows a certain age in their childhood, they will never develop as fully as others. Every child deserves nurture and love, and I feel that Victor never received that. He was an experiment and was treated horrifically. I am angry that he was even given shock treatment. It is even more saddening that he would act out in rage and sadness but none of his emotions were taken seriously because he was obviously very upset with the life these doctors had given him. I am glad there is more acceptance for mental health today then there used to be, but I will never be okay with the treatment of Victor.

  • This is a really interesting story especially from a socio-cultural perspective. Here is a boy apparently without a family, possibly raised in the wild, with no social or culture development. He does not know how to interact with other humans and he cannot understand the intricacies of human non-verbal communication. I can see why the scientists thought they had to domesticate Victor and not just educate or inform. However, I still do not like the use of that word, it implies he was an better than an animal.

  • Its interesting that I’ve heard of the jungle book and have probably watched it once but never knew the specific story and described in the opening paragraph. It was so interesting to read that the jungle book story had a similar account in real life. It was so sad to read that the boy victor was a form of experiment to force him to learn to speak and live life normally. These forced treatments were such cruel forms of abuse. This article was so informative and was definitely new to me.

  • I had heard about a similar experiment conducted on a girl named Genie here in the U.S., however that was rather recent, and I was surprised to learn that Victor’s story took place in the 19th century. Its sad to say that the Genie’s story much like Victor’s did not end with a happy ending and that even a over a century later mankind is unable to help people like Genie and Victor. Overall the article did an outstanding job in chronicling the experiments conducted on Victor.

  • Interesting, I never considered the possibility that the Jungle Book was based off of real events. The story of Victor is one that is both fascinating and tragic. I had hoped that the scientist Itard would have been able to succeed in fully educating Victor. It is a shame that he was disregarded by many as a savage and that very few were willing to help him. Very engaging article, great topic!

  • It is clear why this article is up for best-featured image because the photograph was chosen is simply breathtaking, as well as the other images you used. The jungle book has to be one of my favorite Disney movies and to read about a real-life “Mowgli” mouth opening incredible. Your structure and information throughout your writing sum up this story perfectly, it is amazing to understand how a young boy survived in the forest for so long. Great article and congrats on your nomination!

  • I’m a huge fan of the jungle book and my eye was caught by the title of my article. It makes me furious how cold people can be and treat an innocent child with disrespect and on top of that, still experiment on him like a wild animal. To put everything together, they kept him as an animal until the day he died. What human deserves to be held captive and die alone like an animal?

  • The first thing that caught my attention was the introduction as the author made a reference to the famous story of the Jungle Book. The story of Victor of Aveyron was extremely interesting as the author told the journey and struggles of the boy as he tried to reteach himself how to be “Normal.” I had heard of this case but never in detailed it was interesting to understand what he encountered after he was found.

  • What a greatly interesting and intriguing article. I knew nothing of this subject before reading it, however i am a massive fan of “The Jungle Book”. It was one of my favourite books as a child. Its so amazing that such a young child could survive in the forrest for such a long time and the fact that doctors were willing to give up on him was just absolutely shocking. An extremely well written article

  • The first thing that got my attention was the title. It was very interesting and got my attention right away. I find it shocking how a child was capable of living in the forest on their own for such a long period of time. It is so sad to see how he was just treated as an experiment instead of an actual person. The doctors just gave up on Victor instead of trying to make his life better. Itard was the only one who didn’t give up on him, I can only imagine how hard it was to teach this child who was never taught anything by others before.

  • Very interesting article! This article was well written and kept me engaged throughout the article and its entirety. This story was rather sad because of how many people gave up on Victor, everyone but Itard. I cannot believe that Victor was handled as a piece of meat, and only used for experimentation it is sick that someone would do this to a boy.

  • I have heard of there being wild children and how it can be hard for them to adapt to society. I wonder how Victor ended up in the woods and how he was found. Victors story is a sad one. The scientists worked hard to domesticate him, but when he did not turn out the way they wanted they left him. This article had many interesting facts to help us understand Victors story completely. The article was very interesting.

  • An extremely well written and put together article. Its terrible how a boy so young was treated so terribly. It breaks the heart hearing how they called Victor an idiot savage and treated him like a science experiment for there own enjoyment. Never fully being able to develop and living his life as a zoo animal until the day he died is something no human being should go through.

  • This was a great article, it was a very interesting story and it was one that I had never heard of before. It is a shame that so many people are willing to give up on others because they think that there is nothing that can be done to change the situation. But it is also a shame that Victor was treated as nothing more than a science experiment, one that couldn’t even be bothered to have information given about his death.

  • This article was hard for me to read because of the subject matter, but I did find it a good article with lots of information. I was most bothered by the use of the word “domesticate” to describe what Itard and and the other scientists attempted to do to Victor. To ever refer to another human as needing to be domesticated is such a horror to me, why not use the word help, or educate, or socialize? I also think it is horrible that so many people gave up on Victor so quickly. It is hard to think of this as the enlightenment period when clearly they were so barbaric to the young boy.

  • This article was very interesting and it reminded me when my psychology class in high school went over Genie the feral child from California who was abused, neglected, and was socially isolated as a young girl. Genie’s mother and father were responsible for what they did to the poor girl. Anyways, I would watch the documentary on Genie if you are interested in her story. Your article was well written and it was a good read. I can only imagine how hard it was to help teach Victor. Many scientists gave up on the boy but Itard did not. Overall, good work.

  • It is horrible that Victor was treated this way and experimented on in order to get the results that have come to help science understand development of humans. It is uncomfortable to think that because this boy lived outside of society he was treated more like an animal than a person. Through the lens of this narrative, the article tackled different topics that dominated this era. The arc of the article cleverly weaved these bits of the story into narrative very well. Great article!

  • This was a very interesting article. I knew little about this story before reading this article. The fact that a child could survive years in the forest at a young age is astonishing. That alone should prove that he had some intelligence. The fact that doctors were willing to give up on a child is shocking. Overall though this article was well formatted and easy to follow. Great article.

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