Biography of Joseph Merrick (the elaphant man)

Essay by harkinJunior High, 9th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 1 pages 4.0

Mr. Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man, was born on August 5th 1862, one year after the initiation of the American Civil War, in Leicestershire, Great Britain.

His mother was slightly crippled but one brother, was normal. Apparently Joseph Merrick's development was also normal until about the age of two when small growths began to be noticed on his face, the first signs of a frightful disorder which would transform him into the "Elephant Man".

By the age of seventeen Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man, joined the British labor force working in a menial capacity at a workhouse and left it at twenty-one for greater opportunity with freak shows in 1883. It was here that show promoters christened him the "Elephant Man" and concocted fantastic stories of his origin to woo the public. Three years later in 1886 Joseph Merrick was discovered by doctor Frederick Treves, and through him, eventually gave up life as a sideshow.

Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man, was admitted to the Royal London Hospital where he died at twenty-seven of sleep apnea due to the large overgrowth of his head and surrounding tissues which suffocated him as he slept.

Mr. Joseph Merrick - aka the ELEPHANT MAN - head measured 36 inches - roughly one-third larger than an average human's and a great deal additional weight for his body to support, possibly interfering in his balance and ability to sit or stand for periods without rest.

Joseph Merrick's -aka the Elephant Man - deformities also favored the right side of his body e.g. enlarging his right hand to a flipper like state, and rendering speech vocalization very difficult - though we do have access to any surviving audio recordings of him speaking, it is evident from photographs and examination...