Sunday, 19 March 2017

Gattaca Vs. The House Of The Scorpion

As our Scorpion project comes to a close, we begin to discuss the theme and character development more deeply. One of these methods was to compare characters from another story with The House Of The Scorpion. That story was the movie Gattaca. So, for the last time in the Scorpion project, let’s begin.

The protagonists in these two pieces are very similar. For one, they are both shunned by the society they live in, due to factors they can’t control. Matt is treated like an animal for being a clone. Vincent is prevented access to an ideal job, due to him being “Genetically impure.” Both these disabilities are affected by other factors, predetermined at birth. Both of these characters have to undergo a struggle to find acceptance in these societies, even though the odds are stacked against them. This is evident when Rosa screams at Matt, “You're a monster! It wouldn’t surprise me if you ate them,” On the topic of cockroaches on page 44, and when Vincent says in a flashback, “They once said that children conceived in love will be happier. They don’t say that anymore.”
After this, both characters go through a period of acceptance to their circumstances. Matt eventually accepts that he’s a clone, and society will look down upon him. He doesn’t let that get in the way of his life however and keeps going. Vincent finally accepts that he may not be as “good” as others, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of his dream, which is to go to space. This is evident when he shows the doctor who he really is at the end, knowing what would happen if the doctor reacted differently than how he really did act. For Matt, it’s evident when he thinks, “The only one! He was unique. He was special. Matt’s heart swelled with pride. If he wasn’t human, he might become something better.” This is on page 125. This shows that he has a love for himself, despite how others may think of him.

I’d have to say that the most prominent differences between the characters are how they both are rejected for opposite reasons. In one society, genetically modified people are valued over untampered people. In the other, genetically tampered people are looked at in disgust. Matt was not created naturally. As Tam Lin says on page 189, “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months, and then you were cut out of her. You were harvested. She was sacrificed.” This unnatural process horrifies the people of Opium, who value old fashioned ideals, as opposed to scientific progress. In Gattaca, Vincent is left untampered and becomes more susceptible to diseases and disabilities. This limits opportunities for him, because if you were an employer, why would you choose a weaker worker when there were so many “Better humans” to choose from? As Vincent says best, “I belonged to a new lower class. One not based on age or race, but on genes.” This reflects how the societies these characters live in have completely different ideals and beliefs. As you saw in our fake, and I must admit, a little “cringey” newscast, both these stories reflect the same theme. Just because you can do something, should you?

Thank you all for reading. This has been a great project. I’ve really enjoyed taking this journey with you all. So, for the last time in this “Scorpion Project,” I would like to say, have a great day!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Connections to the world!

In the House Of The Scorpion, a certain issue is constantly being mentioned. The idea of border security. Celia and Matt both have tried their best to illegally escape their country, into a new better one. This has generated a new question with me. What would drive someone to brave these conditions, and break the law, to enter a new and possibly better country? This isn’t just a novel specific problem. 17 asylum seekers, were found nearly freezing in a shack in Manitoba during a snow storm. One of them was a pregnant woman, and another was a child. What would drive people through these conditions?

Well, for starters, they probably felt the country they were in was horrible and potentially dangerous. Throughout the last bit of the house of the scorpion, we are introduced to keepers. Aztlan relies on child labor for its economy, and the keepers are there to keep them in line, through abusive actions and otherwise. Since Celia was a victim of this, she grew hope that whatever awaited her in another country, was better than her circumstances here. When she was given just a little more freedom, she took her chances and ran. She even risked a shadier root if there was a chance of freedom. “What an idiot I was! Those people don’t help you go anywhere. They lead you straight to the farm patrol!” These were Celia’s words on Coyotes, men who try to transport you safely across the border. These asylum seekers probably believed that the countries they were from were no longer safe for them, which caused them to brave the weather conditions and try to cross the border to a safer country.

Secondly, they may have family or friends on the other side of the border, that are separated from them. A lot of the Lost Boys believe their families made it to America, and are going to send for them when they have enough money. Since they are separated from their family, some are motivated to try to escape. This is likely how Matt convinced the others to follow him out of the plankton factory. The driving force behind these children’s actions was to reunite with their families. As Celia said, “Them, they were all turned into eejits.” So they did, in a sick sort of way. These asylum seekers probably had these same thoughts in their mind. They probably had family in Canada and thought they would be safer with them.

That’s all I have to say for now folks. See you later.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Matts Worldview

As the story of The House Of The Scorpion Thickens, a new question has come to mind. What worldview elements influence Matt the most?

Well, off the top of my head, I'd have to say one of these elements is equality with others. After being exposed to a society that hates him just for being a clone, Matt views himself as inferior to others. He believes himself to be less great than normal humans. He still wants rights and isn't selfless, but currently, his worldview tells him that he is inferior to others and that just because he is a clone, he isn't as great as regular humans. This is evident on page 206, in the secret passage, where he says to Maria based on what she told him long before, "I don't have a soul." He is implying he is an animal with this line. So I believe equality with others is the biggest factor.

The second biggest worldview for Matt is sources of ethical wisdom. In Opium, many controversial things occur, such as the use of eejits. Since Matt was isolated from the big house, he isn't really raised around eejits, and when he first learns about the topic from Tam Lin, he is shocked. Later, since he is the clone of El Patron, one of the most powerful men in the world, he believes he can ask for whatever he wants. I'm talking about the birthday party, where he demands a kiss from Maria. This is a great example of him testing his power. However, he later feels remorse. Even though he has a different moral compass based on how he was raised, he eventually rejects the evils El Patron commits. He begins this process around page 192, during his coming of age party, where he thinks, "El Patron loved him. But he was evil."

I believe the next element that influences Matt greatly is his responsibilities to others. Matt, despite the way he is treated, still feels a great responsibility to those he loves. When he is in the secret passage with Maria, he states, "If I have a soul, I'll join you in hell." When she says loving Matt is a sin. Also, when Maria states she's promised to Tom, he responds in outrage, and later, while he's imprisoned in the hospital, thinks, "I can't save her, but perhaps I've done the one thing to rescue her. Maria knows about her mother now. She could call for help." He tells her about her mother in an effort to save her from Tom. Since these could have been his last thoughts, we can tell from this that he feels a responsibility to save her.

These are all the elements I know of. If there are some I could have mentioned, let me know in the comments. Have a great day!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Good And Evil?

Hello again everyone. Over the course of our novel study, I discovered a new theme that needed to be addressed. That theme being how people can be both good and evil at the same time. Not sure what I mean? Okay, What I am trying to say is, how can you justify someone being both good and evil? This novel has introduced an array of characters who all have different moral compasses. They do some things that many would consider evil, yet remain good to others at the same time. How can we justify this?

First things first, I strongly believe that it is not that black and white. People are not good or evil. There are a lot more factors at play here. To some people, what they’re doing is only logical, while to others, it is appalling. It’s really all dependent on the circumstances these characters find themselves in. Take Felicia for example. She is practically held as a prisoner in the Alacran estate, shunned by her family yet locked up with them. She has no escape and turns her sorrows to the drink. Eventually, her sorrows become so strong, she tries to concentrate all her hate and rage on something. Matt is the dearest thing to El Patron, her captor, so she targets her vengeance on him. At El Viejos funeral, she says to Tom, “I was so angry at how they treated you during the birthday party. I wanted to kill that abomination El Patron keeps at his heels.” Matt became the symbol of her oppression, so she became obsessed with him. You may say that she is evil and in the wrong, however, if you weren’t looking at her through Matts' eyes, and were looking through her perspective, would you still think the same thing?

The next thing I would like to talk about is redemption. Someone might do something sickening or evil, however, that characters actions in the future may be completely different, in an effort to fix their mistake. Tam Lin is a great example of this. Before he met El Patron, Tam lin was a terrorist, who murdered 20 children in an attempt to assassinate the prime minister of England. Many people would consider that evil. But before we knew his backstory, Tam Lin wasn’t evil in our perspective. He was like a father figure and mentor to Matt. He was the only person save Celia and Maria that Matt trusted. He has been trying to redeem himself through Matt by guiding him down the right path. This is evident when he tells Matt, “Any rat in a sewer can lie, it’s how rats are…. But a human doesn’t run and hide in dark places because he’s something more.” Tam Lin is trying to keep Matt from taking the same dark path he did. So is he evil or good? Again, I don’t believe there is such thing. Tam Lin has given multiple examples of how he doesn’t fall into either category.

It also comes down to the actions an individual takes, and what the intended outcome is. El Patron is my favorite example of this. When Opium was created, one of the terms El Patron agreed on was to increase border security between Aztlan and America. This idea was for the greater good. However, the terms of that agreement were to leave the drug lords alone, which many would consider corrupt. As he put it, “You have two problems. First, you cannot control your borders, and second, you cannot control us.” El Patron suggested a logical idea, even though the path to it, was a bit sketchy. Still, if the outcome was positive, would you accept it?

Really, there is no such thing as good or evil. It is all a matter of perspective. I hope this post, and this novel, has taught you that. The characters in this book are human, in the fact that we can relate to their shortcomings and flaws. As my arguments have suggested, it is all dependant on the circumstances these characters are under to truly see these vices they have. Also, if you must pave the way to a better world with sins, it still takes you to the same place if you were to do it with acts of good. So yes, I can justify the actions of these characters. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The House Of The Scorpion Page 1-101

The House Of The Scorpion has been a really profound novel for me so far. If you have been following Scorpion and Company, you would see various ideas being presented on the topic of the novel. However, a few thoughts have not really been fully addressed. I think, that it would be best if I shared some more ideas, and let you as readers put forward new ones as well. Please keep in mind that I am reading the book for the first time, and would really appreciate if you didn't spoil it for me as well.

On the topic of Matt, I would say that he is a very interesting character. It is a rare opportunity in most books, to follow a character through the entirety of their life. I love to watch him grow and develop as a character. It's interesting to put your eyes through the lens of a child learning more about the world. But there is one missing piece to Matt's character. When you see how he has been treated, mainly by Rosa, just for being a clone, you have to wonder why El Patrón made him. It's unethical to create something that will be abused, then let it keep it's sanity while enduring said abuse. So what is the reason Matt was created? I have a few theories on this. First of all, El Patrón is very, very, very old. At a 143, it's only a matter of time before he kicks the bucket. We've seen throughout the novel, mostly during the departure of El Patrón, that he has serious trust issues with his family. "This is my clone. He's the most important person in my life. If you thought it was any of you misbegotten swine, think again." These were his exact words to his family. So my theory is, Matt was created to inherit the Alacran estate. It seems El Patrón could only trust himself with his power, and to do so, he unethically created Matt. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill for a clone.

That also leads me to another topic that has been driving me crazy. Why are clones so despised in society? The evidence we have gathered from Rosa, suggest that clones are not only treated like animals but are hated. Even though clones behave like animals, we wouldn't treat a gorilla that cruelly, would we? I have another theory on that too. We hear Emilia say in the book, "A clone is a bad animal." This suggests that clones do something worse than what most animals do. My theory is that a group of clones must have done something terrible in the past, that gave them this stigma so everyone would hate them. This may also be the reason clones have to have their brain wiped, so they can't repeat their actions and fight back.

There is something else too, but there isn't enough evidence to make a theory on it. When Eduardo tries to blunt Matts intelligence, Lisa stops him and says these exact words, "Don't fix that one, it's a Matteo Alacrán. They're always left intact." This suggests that El Patrón has created more clones. What happened to them? Is the El Patrón in the book the original? He is awfully old.

Leave your thoughts in the comments, but please don't spoil anything. Thanks again for reading and have a great day!

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Scorpion Project

Hello, world! It has been too long. As part of our litspiration unit, we will be beginning a new book, The House Of The Scorpion! Over the next month or two, I will be covering this book through blog posts, discussions, presentations, and much more. I will also be contributing to the blog, Scorpion and company, found here. Please note that we will be reading this book periodically, so no spoilers, please! I am so excited to share this reading experience with you, so stay in touch! We will read pages 1-49 from now to February 14. So stay tuned, and be awesome.

Monday, 24 October 2016

The Little Prince Discussion

Hello again world. As part of our Litspiration unit, we have been exploring the film, The Little Prince. This film has naturally led to great controversy about whether or not children’s exposure to whimsical ideas should be limited to better prepare them for adulthood. Now, all of us in the Litspiration group held debates on this issue, and my debate partner and I (Whose blog can be found here) were for the idea that whimsical ideas shouldn’t be limited. I know a lot of you are going to disagree with me, and that’s fine. But first, listen to what I have to say.

First things first, I believe children's exposure to whimsical ideas should be limited just enough so they can focus and work on the task they have been assigned, whether it’s for school or for work. If we don’t do this, children will have a higher tendency to daydream and get distracted easily whenever something seems boring to them. The reality is, life will be boring sometimes, but you can’t just give up and not do it. I’m not saying that we should limit imagination. I’m saying we should control it and keep it in check. This will help children focus, and become better workers.

I know, you might not believe me, but I have other reasons too. Remember Harambe the gorilla? On May 28, 2016, a three year old boy climbed into the gorilla enclosure of the Cincinnati zoo. He was then dragged around by the silverback gorilla Harambe. A zookeeper then shot Harambe fearing the kid’s life. What would lead this child to do this? Whimsical ideas of course. If the child didn’t have some sort of whimsical idea, (probably similar to playing with the gorillas) this whole thing wouldn’t have happened.

Thirdly, If we focused on pure imagination and whimsical ideas, the whole of society would collapse into chaos.Think about the old man’s house in The Little Prince. If every house on that street was like the old man’s house, it would be a really dangerous and messy place to live. Without any order, trash would litter the street, animals would be running this way and that, and people would be getting mugged, beaten, or even murdered. People work hard to keep our society from falling into anarchy, and if one person decides they don’t want any restrictions, they are a danger to themselves and others around them.

I believe, and hopefully you do too, that whimsical ideas need to be controlled so children can be better prepared for adulthood. The future is in their hands, and if they don’t start taking life seriously now, they may never will. The Little Prince isn’t teaching us to never grow up, because growing up is essential. It’s teaching us to become wise with age.