Sunday, 12 May 2013

Individual Post 8

In this post I will compare and contrast the protagonist of the film Gatteca to the protagonist in the book The House of the Scorpion. In Gatteca we are introduced to Vincent, a young man that was brought into the world the 'wrong way' with imperfect genetics that fulfils the identity of a perfect being named Jerrome. In the House of the Scorpion, the protagonist is a young boy named Matt, whom is the clone of powerful drug lord El Patron. In both of the stories the boys are faced with hardships and obstacles of being different from those around them. They are mistreated for many years of their lives and finally, through a series of plot twists and events, they learn that they are not as different and inferior to others as they were brainwashed to believe. Also, both Matt and Vincent have a very strong friendship with a wise and loyal being. Vincent's being Jerrome, and Matt's being Tam Lin. These two characters both end up committing suicide in the end, as well! Even after their deaths, they still impacted the lives of the protagonists greatly and ensure they have a bright, stable future ahead of them. I found this a very strong connection. *Spoiler alert* Another connection between the two characters is that in the end they both get what they wanted and rightfully deserved all along. All ends happily. Matt becomes the leader of Opium and becomes human, and Vincent travels to space, fulfilling his life long dream. Both stories had that type of feel good ending that leaves you sighing with relief.

Below is the link to the official movie trailer of Gatteca, and the cover of the movie! And you can find the book cover for The House of the Scorpion in my very first individual post.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Individual Post 7

Theme, theme, theme, and theme.. Where can I possibly begin? My group found if very difficult to decide upon one short and concise theme statement for this novel. We discussed things from equality to beliefs to social status, and finally concluded on one specific topic; morality. After deciding this, we pieced together a sentence and came up with our official theme statement. Our theme is the difference's of morality and it's influences. Throughout the novel we are introduced to unique characters and their even more unique moral beliefs. The differences of morality play a very large part of shaping the storyline of the book, without a doubt. To support our theme statement, we found quotes from the novel  as evidence. Below you will find the quotes (underneath all of them is the authors last name and page number).

“I love you," Matt said.
I love you, too," Maria replied. "I know that's a sin, and I'll probably go to hell for it."
If I have a soul, I'll go with you," promised Matt.
(Farmer, 222)

“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.”
(Farmer, 245)

““Saint Francis would take a dog to church,” Maria said in a clear, high voice. Where had she come from? Matt turned to find her right behind him. She was even more beautiful close up. “Saint Francis took a wolf to church,” she said, “He loved all animals.” “Maria,” groaned Emilia, who wasn’t far behind. “Dada will have a fit when he finds out what you’re doing””
(Farmer 154)

““Father decided implants were immoral,” said Mr. Alacran, “And I honoured his decision.” A sudden intake of breath around the table told Matt that Mr. Alacran had said something dangerous. “He’s deeply religious. He thinks God put him on earth for a certain number of years and that he mustn’t ask for more.” El Patron stared at Mr. Alacran for a long moment. “I’ll overlook your rudeness,” he said at last.”
(Farmer 106)

“Give things . . .  away?” he cried in the voice of a man one hundred years younger. “Give things away? I can’t believe I heard that! What have they been teaching you!”
(Farmer, 184)

“Was it wrong to blow twenty men to smithereens? El Patron wouldn’t have worried one second over it. Tam Lin had tried to blow up the English prime minister, but he’d killed twenty children instead.
Murder is wrong, Brother Wolf, said a voice in Matt’s mind. He sighed. “
(Farmer, 312)

“...Only you must promise me that once you’re in control, you’ll destroy the opium empire and tear down the barrier that has kept Aztlan and the United States apart for so long.”
(Further down the page)
He (Matt) guessed that Esperanza cared less about her daughters than her desire to destroy Opium.
(On the next page)
He (Matt) understood the full extent of it now. It wasn’t only the drug addicts throughout the world or the illegals doomed to slavery. It was their orphaned children responsible for the Keepers.
“I promise,” he (Matt) said.
(Farmer, 367-368)

"You aren't evil, only [...]"

"Only what?"

"You don't have a soul, so you can't be baptized. All animals are like that." 
"What Matt hated about the creature was everyone´s assumption that he and Furball were the same.  It didn’t matter that Matt had excellent grades and good manners. They were both animals and thus unimportant."
(Farmer, 85).

“Listen to me,” said Celia. “El Patron had ruled his empire for one hundred years. All that time he was adding to his dragon hoard, and he wanted to be buried with it. Unfortunately”- Celia stopped and wiped her eyes- “Unfortunately, the dragon hoard included people.” 
(Farmer, 375-376)

Individual post 6

In this post I will be discussing the real world issues that connect to the novel. If there was one thing that was clearly evident throughout The House of the Scorpion, it is real world connections. There have been many connections to the real world within the novel so far, three of the more major connections that have been mentioned a variety of times being forced / arranged marriages, isolation, and boarder jumping.
In the novel, two arranged marriages have been planned between the Mendoza and Alacran family. Emilia and Steven, and Tom and Maria. These cases are very evident in our society today as well as in the society of Opium. They are planned for many reasons; culture, gain of wealth or financial security, full family support and many more. Although arranged marriages are much more common and looked at as a norm by societies in the Middle East, and in parts of Africa and Asia, they also occur in our society here in North America. In some cases, arranged / forced marriages can be a form of oppression for women. This is another connection from real life to the novel.
Opium is very isolated from the outside world in terms of the majority of their moral beliefs and society. Throughout most of the novel, which takes place in Opium, Matt is brainwashed to believe that it is morally wrong to be a clone and that they are to be treated lesser than humans and that turning people into eeijits is acceptable if one "deserved" it. It isn't until later in the novel when Matt is in Aztlan and the orphanage that he discovers that the opinions and beliefs of the outside world are very, very different. Matt realizes that El Patron has been dictating Opium, brainwashing his people's morals and playing death through his innocent clones and surgery. Dictatorship happens in countries all around the world and in all different forms. It is a very serious issue that causes many problems in places like Pakistan and India. Later this year we will be learning about the Japan and their isolation, and I am very curious to see if the isolation of Opium is similar to Japan's in any way!
Towards the second half of the novel we learn that the people of Aztlan and the United States illegally jump the boarder between the two places, hoping to find their "dream life". In reality, boarder-jumping is also illegal, but just like in the novel, it still happens. In 2002, 134 illegal migrants lost their lives while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. As well as in the novel, there is patrol team that's job is to protect the border. In the book they are called "the Farm Patrol", whom are described as hostile men 
riding horses and in real life they are called "the Boarder Patrol".  
As I stated earlier, these are just a few of the real world applications. Thank you for reading :) 

Friday, 3 May 2013

Individual Post 5

I will be focusing on narrative structure in this post. Farmer has included many little peaks of climax throughout the novel. Right from the beginning there has been jaw dropping and nail biting excitement at the turn of every page. As the plot unwinds, the action rises and falls, but I believe it can all be considered as rising action. Excluding the first chapter when Matt has not even been born and the second chapter that introduces his peaceful and non eventful life in Celia's small house in the poppy fields, which is the exposition. From this point further, the action of the novel takes a giant leap as you engulf into the confusion and terror of Matt's situation. I believe that Farmer chose this approach of writing to keep her readers interested when having such a complex and unique plot line. Although there has been some peaks of climax as I mentioned earlier, I don't believe the highest point in climax has been reached yet. There is still quite a large fragment of the novel remaining and with the plot twists that have occurred at ever turn of a page thus far, anything can happen. And when I say anything, I honestly mean it.
Something else that I found very intriguing was how Farmer decided to align the novel by Matt's ages. This was a very diverse and clever way to approach the novel that I have never seen before in any of the novels I've previously read. Although I must admit before reading the novel I was uncertain if this was the best choice for a fiction book, but after reading I learned that it was completely necessary. The exact age of Matt is very abstract throughout the novel, for it is not righteous for clones to celebrate and keep track of age as humans do, and having these categories helped me grasp a better understanding of how old he was. I was very curious when I found that the fifth and final part of the novel is not an age span, but a Spanish phrase. My curiosity of this led me to searching up the meaning of it, and I came to found that it means "New life". This phrase could mean so many different things and I'm very litspired to discover what it means to Matt's life and future.. if he even has one.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Individual Post 4

In this post I will be discussing characterization thus far in the novel. We have read over half of the book now, and there has been lots of characterization. Unlike my other posts, I will be writing this one in point form and go into detail with some of the more major characters.

Matt - From the beginning, Matt has been the protagonist of the story. We follow him on his journey of growing up. We learn about his quiet life in the house in the poppy fields under Celia's cautious, loving gaze that, in less than an instant, changed forever. We watch him grow as a character, not only physically but mentally. Farmer allows readers to see the side of Matt that is shielded from the rest of the characters. We see the brilliant minded, calm and collected, big-hearted young clone while everyone else in the novel sees him as a wild, filthy 'beast'. Excluding a select few characters of course.

Maria - Throughout the novel Maria has a played a big role. Since she is so close to Matt as a friend and possibly something more, we continuously learn more about her. So far, we have learned about her family, hometown, the diverse and insightful way she sees the world, and so much more. We even know the little things about her, like how she cries too much and how fond she is of her miniature dog, Furball. Maria is a round character without a doubt. Maria, with her big and caring heart, is a character that everyone is sure to love.

Celia - Although Matt was brought up in a cow, Celia is and will always be a mother-like figure to him. For a large bit of the novel, Celia was a flat character. That is until chapter 14 when we learn Celia's story. We lean that Celia is forever devoted to Matt and her love for him is unbreakable ever since El Patron saved her from becoming an eejit. Some people may consider Celia as a stalk character; the over-protective yet undeniably loving parental guardian of the protagonist, but I find her a character all of her own. Farmer has foreshadowed some mysterious plans and schemes Celia is brewing up. I guess I will have to continue reading to find out. Although she may seem fairly round, I can't help but think there is a mysterious side to Celia we haven't seen yet.

Tam Lin - I have to admit that when Tam Lin was first introduced, I though he was going to be a static and flat character that would simply act as Matt's mean ol' bodyguard, but he is so much more than that. As the plot unfolds, we meet the loyal, protective and surprisingly wise bodyguard from Scotland. It wasn't until later in chapter 17 that we learn about Tam Lin's dark past, making him even rounder of a character. Tam Lin may have never been educated, but he knows more than schools could ever teach him. He has a friendship with Matt that nothing else could compare to, and he understands him in a way that no one else could.

Thank you for reading :) Stay tuned, for more posts will be coming soon.