Danielle, the “feral child” being taken into a local hospital (Photograph by Mellissa Little)
As I work into the second draft of my first novel, I also have also finished making my first outline of my second novel in progress. Without going too much into detail, my protagonist will be a feral child being dragged back and forth between the comfort of the wilderness and the pressures of human society.
Danielle, the little girl in the photograph above, was deemed feral not because she grew up in a forest or a jungle. According to police reports, Danielle was found eating bugs, the chipping paint on the wall, and her own fecal matter. She also was unable to speak, a requirement in all advanced civilizations. How can one now exist without being able to communicate thoughts or feelings. Forced to retain all thoughts and fears without any hope that someone will listen. The only human interaction Danielle has received was watching other children play through a dirty window in the home of her abuser.
For centuries, feral children were idolized (somewhat) as in tune with nature like Tarzan. In most historical cases, the found feral children were diagnosed as the results of abuse, domestic violence, one or many mental illnesses, or some form of neglect. Just like Danielle, many feral children were found unable to speak or perform any societal norms. However, many of them seem to pick up the habits quickly as soon as they are rescued and sent to more loving parents.
There are now strange cases where adults (formerly uncontacted people in the Amazon jungle) that choose to return to their native roots. Children occasionally imagine themselves as Tarzan and Jane living with the monkeys, but something in them always tells them to come home in their warm houses. Is it possible for a child (or teenager) to experience so much in such little time that he or she chooses to go back to the wilderness?
I hope my upcoming story will capture all of these aspects respectfully, but also in an entertaining way.