Monday, 13 May 2013

The Scorpion Project: Real World Issues Individual Post

Hi again! Here is yet another post on the Scorpion Project!! Today, I’m going to be talking about the book and its connections to real world issues.

The first thing I noticed in the book was how the future was literally the past. Ignoring some of the futuristic technology, the future seems very familiar. In the past there were so many issues of things like racism and child labor (there still is!). In this future, there is no indication of specific things like religion, however, there is so much disgust thrown towards Matt, who is a clone. Things like "filthy clone" and "a bad animal" (pg. 27) are used to describe Matt. This disgust is very similar to the disgust people in the past showed against each other based on what they believed in and how they lived.  It seems as though people haven't learned from the past...

Then, there’s child labor. This is something that still happens today, but happened a lot a couple years ago. Again with the “the future is the past” thing! After Matt makes it into Opium, in the section “La Vida Nueva” (which means “New Life”), Matt is put to work at a plankton factory. Ugh. So much for a better life! Anyway, in these factories, children without parents or a guardian are put to work, and they get no breaks. None. They are punished with gruesome physical violence like whipping and beating up. In the real world, many children who are not as fortunate as us are forced to work in factories and make products by hand that we sometimes buy without even thinking twice! These children are sometimes even sold by their own families to pay debt. Obviously, the scenarios are very similar.

Other than just the scenarios being similar, while I was reading Matt’s thoughts and the other children’s opinions, it hit me. Most of these kids are uneducated (real world and in the book). After a while, their brains get so fried, that they begin to think that what they’re being made to do isn’t even wrong. Let’s look at Ton-Ton. That kid has brains, but the keepers have literally made him so that he can’t even think for himself! Ton-Ton doesn’t even start thinking for a second that the Keepers could be wrong because of the things that has probably been done to him. Now, I don’t know if this is the case for children in the real world, but it sure seems like it.

I really did appreciate Farmer adding these kinds of issues into her book. It really does open our eyes to entire world and what is going on around us instead of just our own little “first world.”

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Favourite Part of The House of the Scorpion !!

Ok, so if you guys read my Narrative Structure post, you may be looking for a post that says my favourite and the best part of the book. Alright, so it's a bit silly, but here it is !

"Matt looked up. It would have been funny if the situation hadn't been so dire. Sister In├ęz was frozen with her hands grasping Carlos's hair. The other sister had the neck of Jorge's shirt bunched up in her fists, and Jorge was in mid-kick toward Ton-Ton's stomach. Fidelito had thrown himself across Chacho, as though his skinny body could provide protection. And poor Chacho merely stared, as though he'd seen a dragon appear in the doorway." (Farmer 359-360)

LOL. Sorry ! I couldn't help it! Yes, the situation was definitely dire. But, can you just imagine!? That part happened when Esperanza had come and yelled at everybody to stop. I just couldn't help laughing out loud. I really couldn't. Therefor, the best part of the book goes to this line !

What was your favourite part of the book? :)

The Scorpion Project: Theme Individual Blog Post

Hello! Today, I get to talk about theme! The theme is probably my favourite part of books; it’s the one really helpful thing you can take with you from the book! As a group, we decided that among the many themes present in the book, the biggest and most relevant one was about breaking free of the things that hold you back. Let me expand on that.

Ever since Matt had begun to live in the big house with the Alacrans, he was treated with disgust and ignorance. Unfortunately, Matt had a lot of talent! He was excellent at academics and even had amazing musical talent (something that even El Patron didn’t have!). If Matt were not a clone, he would have been able to go so far (which he does eventually, but that’s different) and he would have succeeded so much. However, many things held Matt back. El Patron, the Alacrans, Matt being a clone; all of these things added up and held him back in their own ways.

Until El Patron died, things were always the same. However, once Matt got to Opium, everything changed. Yes, things were still bad…but, at that moment, when Matt rolled over the border into Opium, things changed. Matt was free of El Patron and his corrupt ways, everybody saw him as just a regular person. Matt broke free.

Matt of course, was not the only one in the book who was being help back from their futures by many things. Characters like Celia, Tam Lin, Felicia, and even Tom were all trapped. While many of these characters never really did break free, others did. Celia, who I was sure El Patron would have never let go of, had escaped out of El Patron’s grasp!

Then, there were the characters that never escaped and never would. Tam Lin. In the end, he is buried along with El Patron in his dragon hoard. “’Tam Lin did what he wanted to do,’ Celia said. ‘He was guilty of a terrible crime when he was young, and he could never forgive himself for it. He believed this last act would make up for everything.’” (Farmer 377) What Celia says here, pretty much sums up what we thought about Tam Lin ever since we found out about the bombing. He was so guilty for what he did, never really being able to forgive himself. If he had just forgiven himself for what he did, he would have been alive. He would have broken through that one thing that held him back just like Celia and Matt. Unfortunately, that never happened.

Well that’s all for theme! If you want to see more about theme, check out our group blog and some of my other posts in which I mention theme sometime! 

The Scorpion Project: Narrative Structure Individual Post

Narrative structure. Well, all I can say is, this book had a very weird narrative structure!!

I have to be honest, but most of the exposition of the book was b-o-r-i-n-g. The first chapter had me banging my head on the wall. I thought that this book was just going to be crappy. “How can something be so confusing?” I thought. Ok, ok. That was a bit unfair of me though. The first chapter can’t possibly explain everything. Anyway, things got clearer and clearer as we went along, and soon enough I was getting into a rhythm with the book! It was still, not the most exciting thing. The exposition did have some “mini-climaxes” though, if you will. Things like when Matt jumped out the window of Celia’s house, the eejit in the dry field, the lotus pond…all those things were small bumps along the exposition that really kept me reading the book!

The climax! This. This was the second best part (look for another post for the best part) of the book. The climax had to be right in the middle of the chapters “The Blood Wedding” and “Death,” the chapter “Betrayal.” I think that the highest point of the climax was when the bodyguards were walking Matt to the hospital after Steven and Emilia had found him in that chapter. Man. I was just sitting there with my mouth hanging open, wide eyes and all. That was the moment where I think literally everybody would be like “Oh my gosh! What’s going to happen! Matt can’t just die can he? No, no he can’t. But what if he does?!?!” When I start thinking these things all at the same time, I know it’s the climax.

Falling action was just a little disappointing after the awesome climax! However, I do think Farmer pulled it off by introducing new characters, and having those “bumps” here and there just like in the exposition to keep the reader reading! All through the falling action, all I could think was “things have to get worse before they get better!” I was really looking forward to the resolution.

So here it was. After more than 300 pages of crazy, this was the resolution. The one thing that would fix everything, even for a bit at least. I was satisfied and dissatisfied with it. I was satisfied with the fact that Matt now has the chance to fix Opium and create a better life, and all that. I was happy about that…really! I was! Buuut, the way Farmer got there was completely disappointing. I mean, seriously! She just killed off every Alacran. What a convenient way out huh? I was really expecting some sort of showdown or something. Anything.

I do look forward to reading the next book; I want to know what happens! 

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Scorpion Project: Film Study Post Part 2 !!

Ok. I couldn't help it. I have to talk about everything I took note of from the movie, Gattaca and The House of the Scorpion. 

Something that I noticed was that there were a lot of mirror things going on in the movie. By "mirror things," I mean things that are really similar in both the book and the movie. One of the very similar things that I noticed was the role of characters in the book and the movie. I feel like the supporting roles which were taken by Irene and Eugene (Eugene is the "original" Jerome) in the movie are sort of similar to those of Maria and Tam Lin in the book. Obviously both Maria and Irene are the "love interest" and also the people that really help the protagonist get through the tough times (something really crazy similar about Maria and Irene, later in this post). As for Eugene, he sort of took on the same type of role as Tam Lin. They both were there for Matt and Vincent when they most needed it, giving advice and tips to help with their situations !

As for Vincent's brother, he reminded me so much of the Alacran family. Yes, he was much better than the Alacran Family, but both the Alacrans and Anton (Vincent's brother) had this sort of belief that they were more superior and way better than Matt/Vincent. They were the ones pulling the protagonist down, they were the society. More than anything, it really sucks when the people you are related to say you are hopeless, and in Matt's case, livestock. LIVESTOCK. Seriously?

There was this super crazy mirror-situation that happened between Matt and Maria, and Vincent and Irene. When Furball was killed, Maria was so upset. We didn't know what she thought, but I felt like she probably felt like all her trust she had given Matt was wrongly given. That, Matt wasn't even the person she know? I feel like the same kind of thing happened in the movie when Anton - the detective, and Vincent's brother - and Irene went to Vincent and Eugene's home, and she found out for sure that Vincent was a fraud. I'm not sure if she thought that Vincent was the murderer - if she did, that would be even more crazy-mirror! - but it definitely looked like she thought she had put her trust in the wrong person, and that she didn't even know who "Jerome" really was. Just like Maria though, she comes around. ;)

There was this one quote in the movie, "When they look at you, they don't see you anymore. They see me." This was said by Eugene to Vincent. It was like, people saw Vincent's personality, but they only saw it as Jerome's personality. It reminded me of how when people looked at Matt, all they could see was a clone, not the smart, nice, and musical genius Matt. They couldn't see Matt for what he really was, they only saw Matt as a clone-who-is-smart-because-he's-El Patron's-clone.

Anyway, I could probably go on forever talking more about the movie itself ...buut. I should stop. See you guys in my next post! Tell me what you think?? Agree? Disagree? 

The Scorpion Project: Film Study Individual Post

Today we had the chance to watch the movie Gattaca. This movie, having nothing to do with the book, had oh so much in common with The House of the Scorpion! While I have a lot to say about the book and the movie, in this post, I want to focus on the protagonists and how their development as characters really added to the plot, storyline, and meaning.

In Gattaca, Vincent Freeman (our protagonist) has a dream, but, in this not-so-far-off future, genetics are everything. For Vincent, his genes don't do him any good. With genetics like his - imperfect, that is - he will never get his dream accomplished…or will he? Vincent is still determined to make his dream come true… and in order for that to happen, he then becomes Jerome Morrow. The real Jerome has perfect genetics, but a not so perfect body - his legs don't work. Taking on Jerome's identity, Vincent goes on his way to pursue his dreams, while learning to accept himself and breaking free of society's ways.  

Vincent and Matt have a lot in common. Both of their lives just seemed so pointless. Neither of them were ever accepted by society because of their imperfections. The biggest thing that matters is that both of them never really thought too high of themselves (at first). They believed along with everyone else that they were inferior, and they would never be able to do the things others could do (at the beginning of the book).  

However, they both had those big moments where they realize that they are so much more, and that they can fight back and become better than others! For Matt, I think that this moment started when Tam Lin told him that there was no difference between humans and clones. “‘Here’s the dirty little secret.’ Tam Lin bent down and whispered, as though he had to hide the information from the swallows, the duck, and the dragonflies. ‘No one can tell the difference between a clone and a human. That’s because there isn’t any difference. The idea of clones being inferior is a filthy lie.’” For Vincent I think that the moment he realizes that he can be as good as his brother, – Anton, – is when they are both out to sea as young boys, and Vincent ends up rescuing Anton. The second time Vincent has to save his brother, and he looks up at the stars, it really feels like he realizes that his dream is right in his reach.

I feel like the themes of Gattaca and The House of the Scorpion are pretty much exactly the same: breaking free of the things that hold you back!!!!