Monday, 29 April 2013

The Scorpion Project: Characterization Individual Blog Post!!

Finally! I've been bursting to talk about the characters and their roles in this book for too long. Too long, I tell you! Anyway, here are my thoughts on the characterization and characters in the book so far! P.S. We are currently on page 178. 


The protagonist in the book is obviously Matt, the clone. We know a lot about Matt, making him a very round character. We know things like how much knowledge he has, what his interests are, what his goal in life is (to be accepted and treated as an equal)...all those things.
Matt, being the protagonist is a very dynamic character. He has grown and matured so much since the beginning of the book. Close to the beginning, El Patron was influencing Matt's choices and behavior so much...and not in a good way. An example is in the chapter, "The Giving and Taking of Gifts." In that chapter, Matt is being so terrible to Maria and when he realizes that making her kiss him in front of everyone is a terrible idea, he still lets it happen. Why? Because El Patron seems to be enjoying what Matt is making Maria do. "That's the stuff," El Patron said gleefully. "Make your women toe the line." (Farmer 108) However later on, in the "Old Age" section, Matt seems to be thinking more for himself. He knows that his mistakes will cost him way more than if somebody else made that mistake, as he is a clone. He is also looking towards his future in a realistic and optimistic way. It’s no longer just, "if I become smart, people will like me." Matt is definitely a growing, maturing, and dynamic character. He is, after all, the protagonist. 

Characterization in general: One thing I am loving about Farmer's writing is that she feeds you information about characters in very indirect ways - she doesn't just "tell" you them. For example, when we learned about Tam Lin's past, it didn't even come from Tam Lin! It's not like he went, "Oh yeah, by the way Matt, I'm a terrorist. In hiding, and saved by El Patron...sort of." We learned this piece of information (along with Matt) by accident! The farm patrol guys from the chapter "The Eejit Pens" told us their history, from which we learned about Tam Lin… Awesome! 

Speaking of Tam Lin, I think that he is such an important character in the book and to Matt. His support for Matt as a fatherly figure has really affected Matt as a person and how he has changed. Characters like Celia and Maria have a big role in Matt’s development as well! As for Tam Lin, I’m very interested to see how Nancy Farmer approaches his situation! 

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Scorpion Project: Setting Individual Blog Post !

The overall setting takes place in a country called Opium, in the near future. The first time the setting is introduced clearly is in chapter 6, "El Patron." Matt has just been rescued from the prison, and is meeting El Patron (who is Matt's original) for the first time. El Patron rambles on about his youth. He mentions his youth in Aztlan (the neighboring country), and how it was called Mexico when he was a boy (and that was probably a long time ago since El Patron is about 140 years in this chapter). This is how I knew that not only was Aztlan and Opium in South America, but it is in the near future, because it used to be called Mexico.

Before this however, I noticed a couple hints from Nancy Farmer that indicated the time and approximate location. For example, in the first chapter there is talk of clones. I knew immediately that the time setting of the book had to be somewhere in the future, because clones are not something that is very common right now or completely invented. Also, the Spanish phrases here and there such as, mi vida (which means my life) or alacran (which means scorpion), indicated to me that the “where” of the book was probably somewhere like Mexico or Spain.

As for minor settings, I talked about them a little in my Individual Blog Post #2 (go check it out here) and my group talked about them a lot more on our Litspiration Challenge #1 (which you can check out here), but I'd like to talk about their importance. I think that the smaller settings all have a bigger importance to the story than just painting a picture in our minds. Most of the places Matt has described for us (poppy fields, the Big House, etc.) so far, all seem like beautiful and good places at first. But after you really think and learn more about them, they seem much more dangerous, scary, and dark.

Farmer uses the setting/s to set a tone and atmosphere for the book - which I find to be sort of mysterious and forbidding...almost like we are never getting the whole truth - and she also sends us a message through her settings: not everything is as it seems. I also believe that Nancy Farmer is using her settings as sort of a development for Matt. As he starts to discover the real world, and all the secrets, his character is also developing more!

* Disclaimer!!! The images above do not belong to us. We have only edited and added text to them. We take no credit for the actual images!!! * 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Scorpion Project: Individual Blog Post #2: Thoughts so Far...

Hello! This is my first actual blog post for The Scorpion Project! Anyway, this blog post is on thoughts so far. I am currently on page 112/380..except we are supposed to be on page 83, oops! Anyway here are my thoughts on the book up to page 83. Warning: It's hard for me to separate my thoughts on the chapters that came after page 83, so I will try my best, but I'm probably going to mix in some things from later in the book.

Tam Lin: Tam Lin is one of the characters I want to talk about. He's not a very round character as of right now, but I have a feeling that he is going to be a significant character, since he is the one who tells Matt what a clone is. Tam Lin is also one of the likeable characters in this book! He also tells Matt some information about the Alacran family and some tips. I hope Tam Lin is going to be there for Matt throughout the book, because Tam Lin seems to be a good role model for Matt...and Matt needs a good role model because he is surrounded by so many bad role models and people who don't like him!

- As for the storyline itself, it's really interesting so far. The tone and atmosphere of the book seems very forbidding and mysterious. For example, the white poppy fields. At first glance, it seemed to be a beautiful scene, but they are actually very dangerous (not literally) and deadly. Matt describes the field to be a blinding white, and wished to see some green grass. Nancy Farmer uses many subtle hints to give a bigger message - and I think that the poppies represent that not everything is as it seems!

- The pacing of the book has been really confusing me (mentioned earlier). I wish Farmer had given us indications of how much time is passing. There were some small hints that I noticed, like the rotting orange (it would have taken a long time for an orange to rot and have worms in it) in "Prison." However, other than these small hints, I'm finding it hard to keep track of how much time has passed in the book. I wonder why Nancy Farmer chose to write the book this way, with each section being a couple years of Matt's life.

- The narrative mapping of books and longer plot lines are always hard to determine. I feel as if right now, we are on a rising action with a lot of "mini-climaxs." What I mean by mini-climaxes, is that there are so many moments in the book where I was like, "oh my god!" or "whaaat??!" However, none of them seem to be major enough to the be the legit climax! I have a feeling that the majority of the book is going to be rising action. I always get this jittery feeling when I'm reading this book; I'm always anticipating something crazy to happen. What? I don't know! Guess we'll have to keep reading and find out!!!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Novel Study! & Blog Changing - Individual Blog Post #1

For term 3 in class, we are doing a novel study on The House of the Scorpion!

The focus of our blogs is changing to this book! Fear not! I will occasionally add my own litspiration posts that are unrelated to The House of the Scorpion.

This is a group and an individual project. All group things will be posted on our group blog (you can also find the link to the group blog on the right sidebar). All individual things will be posted on this blog!

I am super excited to get started on this novel study!!!! I'm interested to see the discussions and ideas that come out of this study. Stay tuned!