Sunday, 29 April 2012

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Final Round Table

Martin Papst Blog Post #5 | Vincent vs. Matt

Martin Papst blog post #5

I feel as a reader and a viewer that comparing the two main characters from the movie Gattaca and the
book “House of the Scorpion” is both hard and easy. The reason I say this is because they are both
similar characters with some differences such as Matt from the “House of the Scorpion” is trying to “be
the same” as the other people while Vincent from Gattaca is trying to be “different”.

Matt from the “House of the Scorpion” is a legitimate clone of a great drug lord known as “el patron”
while Vincent is not a clone but, rather a “different identity” trying to hide himself from society so he
can follow his dreams. In the movie Gattaca, Vincent is trying to follow his goal of traveling to outer
space. Matt on the other hand is trying to live as long as he can for he knows that his whole purpose in
life is to “die” for another person.

I feel that based on the movie Gattaca , Vincent is a very outgoing guy that likes to stand up to people
who are better than him and show them who is boss. I think the character Matt has some of these
characteristics as well but, I feel as though he knows when enough is enough and whether or not
standing up for himself will get him into trouble.

I think that comparing these characters is tough because they both seem to live in different time
periods. Based on the book, there were still blue skies. In the movie, they had to use reflection screens
just so that they could see the sun set.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Cameron H BLog Entry #5: Matt vs. Vincent

Matt from The House Of The Scorpion, and Vincent from Gattaca both share a lot of things in common.  One of the most important parts that I find that they share are when they are able to impress people that doubt them, or in other words, exceeding their expectations.  

If you remember in the book and the movie, then by the end of each one of them, then it becomes clear as to what their ultimate goals in life were.  Matt’s was to be just as good as a normal human being, if not better.  He achieved this by various methods such as playing the piano, acing at geography, and excelling at naming the constellations.  Vincent, on the other hand, was similar, but different in its own ways.  Vincent impressed people with his physical capabilities.  When he was on the treadmill, he did well when he was seen, but when he went back to the locker room, it was like he was simply out of breath.  He also finally beat his brother at swimming, and also even rescuing him, showing sign of heroism.

I believe that the book and the movie we put together because the main characters share similar traits, and also very different traits and in very different situations.  Their age is also different, but they still have the same goals.  They are both different from the general society as a whole, and they discriminated because of this.  They could not help this, because someone else decided what they would end up as, Matt being a clone, and Vincent being a natural child.

I would not be able to have a clear picture as to what Matt looks like for real, but before Vincent was attempting to get into Gattaca, he was seen as the type of person that was “nerdy” and could simply not be talked to or bothered.  Everyone except Celia and El Patron pretty much treated him like he was an “animal”.  In Vincent’s case, those who were natural babies were given poor jobs compared to those with genetic modification.

The criteria to get into Gattaca was that you had to show physical stamina, knowledge, and be a genetically modified baby.  The reason for this is because they believed that if they were going to let someone into Gattaca, they wouldn’t waste the money on a person that had all sorts of problems assiciated with them.  Vincent had a heart condition, and also had a potential to also being diagnosed with various other diseases/conditions.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Blog Post #4: Personal Choice Throughout The Book

Cameron Blog Entry #4: A Personal Choice On The Book So Far:

I have reading around ¾ of the entire book, and I really do enjoy what I have read.  I believe that Nancy Farmer has introduced each of the characters very well, and introduce each and every other non-main character little by little.  By doing this, this raises the suspense and also makes the book all the more mysterious.  Matt is a very courageous and curious person, and because of this, he is constantly endangering himself, and also nearly suffers from severe consequences.

At the part that Matt is going to leave Opium and seek refugee in the country of Aztlan. t first, he seems at the point to manage well and is a great new exposure to the world outside of the country, Opium.  However, from there, things seems to go downhill from there.  First of all, he becomes fatigued from climbing the large cliff in his way, and then he is nearly caught from the farm patrol.  If he was in fact caught by the farm patrol, then that would likely result in him being turned into an eejit.  He needs to be much more careful, but he wouldnt know any better, since he has only ever been in Opium up until this point.

I am the most curious to what happens next in the book.  I am wondering if he will eventually get caught, or if he will get away, and pursue to his place of interest, the location of Esperanza Mendoza, the former wife of the powerful US senator, Senator Mendoza.  Will he even also return to Opium ever again? This is what I will find out the next time I read.  Many more secrets lie with this book, and the ending of the book will decide what exactly happens in this tale of a dystopic society.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Martin Papst blog post 3: Issues of border control

What comes to mind in the first place is the large border between the US and Mexico. A lot of people cross it every day legally and some cross it illegally. The big attraction is the jobs that can be gained for the Mexican people together with the possibility to send some of the money back to Mexico where the relatives would really need it.
The Americans have built a fence for many miles to prohibit Mexicans to illegally enter the states. While some people enter with valid documentation and just stay longer and disappear and go underground and start a new life, others try to cross over hot deserts and very hostile country to get across the border.

I think you have to be very desperate to take such risks to your health and probably even life to get to the Promised Land where maybe a job is possible. Mexicans have drowned in rivers and died of dehydration and heat stress in the desert. Because more and more American border patrol personnel is active, Mexicans have to try to cross the border in more hostile environments and when they get to the US they have to stay much longer in the Us and are not able to return to their families.

Although Mexicans are usually getting unskilled labor jobs and they are getting paid less because the employers do not ask for any proper documentation, it is still quite important because the money they can send home might be the main source of income for their family at home in Mexico.

Despite of all the efforts of the American border agents to shut illegal immigration down, it is estimated that out of 300,000 immigrants that enter the US from Mexico every year, about half are illegally entering.
I can only think, that when you have little education and you try to improve your life and that of your family, you are willing to accept high risks to succeed.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Cameron H Blog Post 3: Border Control Issues

Cameron H Blog Entry #3: Real Life Border Control Issues:

North Korea is one of the few countries left in the world that are still communist.  North Korea has very strict rules that are different than those of other countries that aren’t communist.  One of the typical rules that North Korea has is that you are not allowed to leave the borders of North Korea without special permission from the government. I’m sure that many of the North Korean civilians have tried to leave their country, but in the process, because they broke rules, they were punished and suffered the consequences.  I can see their intention of trying to leave, trying to find out what the rest of the world is like, but because of their current government system, they are unable to do so.  

I could imagine that there would be people that are like 80 years old, and for their whole life, they have only ever been in North Korea.   What they are really missing to see the rest of the world, beyond their borders. Of course this is illegal, but it would be for the greater good of the people.  After all, we all only have one life, so I believe that it would be the best to make it the best life that you could have. In the book, Celia mentions that back when she wasn’t in Opium, she had a very rough life, and did not see any place else, until she turned to the coyote and helped her cross the Aztlan border. She was lucky when she was able to cross the border at the time she did, in the more recent times in the book, anyone who was found crossing the border illegally were turned into eejits.  

Hopefully, with the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, there will be a brighter future for the rest of the North Koreans.  Maybe he will have a change of heart and modify the way of life that North Korea has had for many years.  But only time will tell us that.

Group Entry 2: Playlist On A Certain Character

Group Entry 2: Playlist on a certain character

We chose Celia because she is a person who still seems very secretive. Another reason why we want to make a playlist for Celia is because she has a very caring personality and she is usually very courteous towards others.  As she is Matt’s caregiver, she is like a mother to him, and she cares for him very much.

So the first song that we have decided to include of the playlist of 10 songs is the pretender by foo fighters.  the reason why we chose this song is because it gives off a very motivational and strong feeling. This song is a few years old, but it is still a fairly well known song.  

List of songs:

#1: Foo fighters - The Pretender

The Pretender is a song that was recorded by the Foo Fighters.  Celia may listen to a song that is similar to this one because the theme of this song gives a good meaning to those who want to feel motivated and prepared for whatever comes at them in life.

This song was chosen by Martin at the very start of this project.  As said before, the song and the band may be a little older, but it still conveys a good message.  Seen in the book, there are times such as when she mentions that she had a not-so good-life.  But once she met El-Patron, all of those worries went away, and her life changed for the better.  

#2: Tom Russell - Santa Ana Winds

Santa Ana Winds is a song that resides in a lower Texas upper Mexico area. The song sounds like a song you would hear in one of the old “wild west movies”. It very much suites the setting that is presented in this story.

Santa Ana Winds is a song that was picked by Martin. The Santa Ana Winds are like a chinook except that they reside in areas like California & Arizona. The Santa Ana Winds sometimes bring wildfires because they are so hot. Some people call them dangerous like a wil lion, ready to pounce on its prey.

#3: Tom Russell - Crosses of San Carlos (religious song)

The crosses of San Carlos is an old religious song that consists of one singer, and two guitarists. The song’s surface is about First Nations people that are trying to find The Crosses of San Carlos. We think that the songs real meaning is about overcoming your fears and believing in what you know is right.

This song was chosen by Martin, recommended by his father. The song has a slow beat and is mostly lyrics. an partly guitar. I would assume you could categorize this song as country but it is somewhat slow paced for a country song.  

#4: Stronger - Kelly Clarkson
video: you/GBE431100116?source=instantsearch 

We believe that this would be a song similar to what Celia would listen to, if it was popular in the future.  This song gives off a very upbeat and confident mood to the listener.  Celia would like to listen to this.  Kelly Clarkson is fairly popular in the present, but the only thing is that she would either not be around in the future anymore, or that she would not be popular anymore.  

This was Cameron’s choice to choose this song.  Thi song was released to North America not too long ago.  I heard that it was at one point #1 on the itunes top songs, but now it is at about #8 or 9.  The meaning of this song is that when you are feeling down and not being yourself, then this would be a great song to feel the way that you want to, in this case, not depressed or sad.

#5: How Great Is Our God- Chris Tomlin

This song would be very meaningful for Celia.  She is very patriotic towards her holy saviour, God/the Virgin Mary.  Religion is an aspect in her life that she values, and that she trusts them with her life.  In fact, she cared so much that from Celia’s homeland, Aztlan, she brought back a painting of the Virgin Mary.  When she was crossing the border, then she got scared because her painting was damaged when the border patrol was handling it.  She values it very much, and that’s why she decided that if Matt also believed in the Virgin Mary, he would be sheltered and protected for evil and harm.  Cameron chose this particular song.  Celia has worshipped the Virgin Mary for a very long time, and she will most likely continue to do so.  

#6: Ideology - Michel Conci

This is a very meaningful song that was chosen by Cameron.  This is just a song that goes with other songs already in the playlist, simply giving that “religious” feeling.  As said before, Celia values religion, and it is very important to her in her life, even protecting it with her own life.  This song is slow and a little faster in some parts, but for the most part, it sounds like cowboy music, but also very sombre as well.  Celia has definitely had some difficult times in her life, and again, as stated before, when she was back in Aztlan.  She needed help to even get into Opium, but while being under the roof of El Patron, there is no need to worry about anything serious at the moment.  This song really reflects her general personality, being not exactly sad the majority of the time, but not the happiest person there is.  She just has a monotone personality in most cases.  Celia lives her days like there won’t be any change, but there will definitely be change one day.  

#7: Calling Somebody That I Used to Know (remix of Somebody that I used to Know) -
     Sebastian Ingrosso & Gotye

This is a very upbeat song that was chosen by Martin. I chose this song because it is a change from the songs that we have chosen for Celia.  I feel that she would enjoy this song because it is easy to get into and before you know it, your head is bobbing to the beat and in perfect sync. The song does not have many lyrics in it for it is a DnB song but, I find that it is a great song to listen to when you are feeling down or if you are stressed out. The lyrics are talking about hating somebody that “cut you off” and just putting them or it behind you. This is the case as well for the original song witch has the same lyrics but is less up-beat and “fun”.

#8: Ella Me Levanto - Daddy Yankee

The song that was chosen by Cameron has a very upbeat feeling to it. Just from listening to the lyrics, I can instantly tell that it is a Spanish song.  It is a very cultural based song, as it also has that general mood flowing in it.  There seems to be a lot of action in it, and also sounding very passionate about this peculiar Spanish song.  The person who sings it, Daddy Yankee, also seems like a real rapper at the same time.  It reflects Celia’s mood on the rare occasions when she is actually feeling a bit more excited, but this is not very often.  

#9: Felicidad - ABBA

This was the final song that was chosen by Cameron.  The reason that he chose it is becasue it can reflect what kind of person that Celia had always wanted to be.  Even though directly mentioned in the book, it says that she had a fairly rough childhood.  It seemed that throughout her life, she has been denied those chances to do anything that she wants.  She seems to never be free and at peace.  Since she is Spanish (Mexican if Mexico were to exist in the current time period of the book), I have this feeling that singing and becoming famous has been one of her lifelong goals.  This song could really reflect her dreams in life, and that’s the reason why I believe that this would be a song that belongs on her playlist.  Although this song would not likely be popular in her current time, this song brings out what she may have always wanted to do most with the time that she has alive, and the potential that she has.  

Monday, 12 March 2012

Cameron H Blog Post 2: Setting of the story

The setting is told fairly easily in the beginning of the book.  I have always imagined it to be something like how Mexico looks, in terms of the houses, the general setting, and the whole environment.  This book has the time period of the future, even from the book coming out in the year of 2002.  It takes place in a strict nation that is a small country.  It is like a think strip of land which where Mexico once was, now called Aztlan, and the US.

I think of the setting to be like in a rural area in a countryside, with relatively small houses for the general civilians.  However, as said directly from the book, around the first quarter of the youth age, the one house that seems to be popualt among everyone is the Big House.  It seems like that everyone is always doing something there and that   Even though it is not supposed to be like Mexico, then I think of the whole general setting to be just like Mexico.  

Because of all these factors, I leaves me to believe that this area of Opium is in a state of being slightly below the poverty line. The kids seem like they do not have that much, and there is no statements or information included that talks about any electronic devices that they may or may not have.  However, they have regular toys and other entertainment systems, such as the piano that is mentioned later on.

This book is like a true dystopic society.  What happens is basically the head of the Nation, El Patron, conducts everyone to do everything right at his beckon call.  And especially because of the Eejits, they are still human beings, but they have their life basically taken away and are now like slaves, that service and work for their mighty ruler.  More will come later on from the book and more will be shared.

Martin Papst blog entry 2: Setting;

So far, the setting of the book takes place in a “corner gas” type setting. For some reason, I feel this is not how Mexico would look. The book describes the setting as a very rural style with lots of space in-between the individual living quarters. I always thought Mexico as to have a very spread out city with two parts; one very rich part and one very poor part.

The author does a great job of introducing the setting without you realising it but, for some reason, I feel as though the setting is incorrect. Maybe, the author tried to make the setting more of a “Texas” setting, which seems almost like what she was going for. If that is the case then i suspect that their may be a big city in the future.

In my opinion, The Big House looks kind of like the bamfield shell building but without the shell shape. My reason for thinking this revolves around the grand entrance that the shell building has. I think that my theory for having the” half rich/half poor” scenario as well works here. I think that the people in the big house like El Patron or even Celia are much wealthier than the rest of the country. when i see the setting described to me, i see a tall tower in a very sub-urban area. It seems like the entire country is feeding to one house, or one person like a company, where you are either at the top, or at the bottom.

In conclusion, I feel as though the setting is very broad, and that it will only get broader. As of now, I feel that analyzing the setting is hard to do in less than 350 words and that my response is very broad. as for now though, this is what i could come up with.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Martin Papst Blog Entry 1: Author's Certain Choices

I am certain that the reason that The House of the Scorpion started with a chapter one and not a prologue is because of the way the book is written.  The reason that I say this is because if you skim through the book, it has 3 sections. All of the sections have an age written underneath them. This means that the book was written somewhat like a timeline of the protagonist’s life. Being that it is a timeline, a prologue would not only look out of place, but as well as feel out of place. I am certain that this is why she decided to start with a section 1 instead of a prologue.

Some other things I have noticed that might give a clue as to what the writer was thinking are hidden in the text. I feel that the writer is trying to relate to something that is happening in real life where a group of people or possibly other organisms are getting treated unfairly and are being forced to either never see the light of day or to be treated like dirt and completely ignored. An example I think about while describing what the writer is thinking about is world hunger. I think the writer is secretly making you think about things while you are reading to either make you think deeper or change your opinion on a subject.

The author decided to make the story take place in the future because it helps with the clone idea. Setting the story in the present or the past would not make sense because I don’t think we have full cloning technology yet. I really could not figure out why the author decided to make Matt a clone. It will probably become clearer later on in the story. Right now though, I think that Matt being a slave or a slave baby would have been be just as effective as him being a clone.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Discussion 3: Various subjects related to first part of book

This is the video that we talk about different parts about the first section of the story, including the relation between characters, the introduction of the character, the choices that the author makes, and the foreshadowing of future events for the book:

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Cameron H Blog Entry 1: Character Relationship

I thought that it was well thought over by the author, Nancy Farmer, introduced Matt the way she did.  He is the main character, and so far, he tries to be as friendly to other people as possible, although he is a clone and he knows it himself later on.

Celia is the caregiver towards Matt, but she is also not his mother, as Matt is just a clone of El Patron.  She loves him very much, and deeply worries about him, and Matt does the same for her.  However, she really does not appreciates when Matt calls her his mama, as this statement is not true, and he knows it himself.

Maria is a little girl who is the same age as the cloned Matt.  Although everyone else strongly dislikes him, it is revealed that she is among the only ones that admires the “eejit” as all call him.  Eejit is the slang word for people that are clones.  People think that this is not ethical, and that she should stay away from her.  Her attempts to befriend him only gets Maria into more trouble by the rest of her family.

So far, in the first section, there is a person that sgows deep hatred for him later on, but not in the beginning, which was Rosa.  Rosa did not orignally know that Matt was a clone, so she was rushing to help Matt as he was hurt.  However, as soon as she found out that Matt was a clone, then she immediately stopped caring for him, who the deserted and imprisoned him.

There are other people that Matt has met that are the minor characters, but this character influences the whole story, El Patron.  He is the original Matt Alacran, and Matt later finds out El Patron is very old, and that he is actually a clone of him.  Matt has yet to meet his original one yet, but he soon will find out what his purpose is for being given life, and he may not have a bright future ahead of him.  

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Discussion 2: The Setting Of The Story

February 28, 2012;

Here is our discussion on our recent talk on what we know about the setting so far.
This includes the general area, and the laboratory that we currently know about:

Discussion 1: Intro Before The Story

This was our first discussion regarding everything before the actual story:
(includes the table of contents, the cast of characters, family tree members)