Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade September 2001

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Throughout the ages, stories have been told of children being raised in the wild, no different from any other animal, and repulsed by human society. These stories have always been popular, and their protagonists endearing to readers. This could be seen as an attempt by society to reject itself, but if so, this is probably not a conscious action. If anything, these stories allow us to better understand ourselves, to view humanity from an outside perspective, and to, even if in fiction, better understand the world outside of man.

The mythical founders of the Roman civilization, Romulos and Remus were cast aside from their human society and raised by a savage she-wolf. Once grown they returned to the world of man and created a better society the likes of which, according to the Romans, had never been seen before. The "wild child" myth has always created a sense of reverence, but this has never been more evident then in the foundation myth of Rome.

In 1344 a real life "wild child" was found in Hesse, Germany, and several more have been "discovered" since, each time capturing the imagination of the world.

It is this sense of awe that authors such ask Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Rice Burroughs hoped to recapture in their stories, "The Jungle Books" and the "Tarzan" novels respectively.

In both stories, the protagonist is a young boy, left, without his human parents, to be raised by the beasts of the jungle.

Mowgli of the "Jungle Book" finds himself raised by a pack of wolves in the wilds of India. His fellow creatures look him down upon as the "man-cub". They fear him, knowing what he will someday become, and some even hate him for it.

It is growing up in this environment that Mowgli learns to...