Jungle Girl

I read Marissa’s post and was immediately drawn into her ideas. I was able to find an article about a woman who was found after being “lost” in the jungle for 18 years. When she was found, she was described by “long, matted hair, grunts and screams instead of speaking and has a hunted expression and a fear of people.” This woman fights off anyone who tries to approach her and refuses to wear any clothing or wash herself.

She is refusing to conform to human society after being out of it for almost 2 decades. The only words she learned how to say were “mother,” “father,” and “stomachache.” After looking for more information on Ro Cham H’pnhieng, I found that she did not fit into the human world at all, before she went into the jungle or after. After she was found, it was a constant battle to keep her maintaining human norms, specifically wearing clothes. She would always try to pull them off to return to her more preferred state: naked. She also tried to run away many times. The people watching her would always be on the lookout to prevent this from happening, because her returning to the jungle was worse-case scenario for them. However, in the end, she did end up running away for good, 10 months after she was found. No one knows exactly where she might have gone, but people are suspicious that she went to return to her naked male companion that she had been living with before her discovery.

Marissa discussed the lack of human interaction as a sign of humanity. However, Ro has been in contact with another human for a good amount of the 18 years that she has been in the jungle, yet she still shows signs of not being “human,” such as not being able to talk and only grunting. That begs the question that Marissa brought up of what makes someone human. This question would be impossible to tackle in such a short blog post, so I am going to focus on a different question instead.

Can a human truly live in nature? I think Ro is a perfect example of a human leaving society for whatever reason, whether intentional or accidental, and living in nature. Although she was not completely self-sufficient (she was caught stealing food from a village), she still has been on her own for 18 years with no formal human civilization. Who knows if she would have been able to stay sane and alive without her male friend, but we will never know that. In my opinion, I think another human to have direct contact with is essential for surviving, whether in nature or in the civilized world. In class, we talked about hermits and other examples of people who have gone to live in a completely secluded area. For these people, I think that they often use other animals as a replacement for human contact. They will become very close to a dog or another animal, often so close that they will treat and protect it as if it were a human. So in order for anyone to survive in nature, they need to have some kind of companion, and not be completely on their own.

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