Sunday, 19 March 2017

"Discrimination Down to a Science"

We know that imperfections are just a part of nature right? Well what if we had the power to completely eliminate any issues you wanted at will, through genetics, eradicating all genes that possess a bad or unwanted trait, what would our world look like then?
As you might know, our class has been exploring The House of the Scorpion, a novel by the Newbery Honor award author Nancy Farmer. Recently, after finishing the book, we looked to examine a different text - a film called Gattaca in order to compare and contrast mainly the protagonists in The House of the Scorpion. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy!

Main characters are at the center of the narrative in every movie, book, and play. without them, there basically isn’t any story to follow. The hurdles and victories the protagonist experiences would be virtually nonexistent. So when comparing two fictional realities that, of course, contain their own separate protagonists, Like Matt and Vincent. You’d think that they’d be completely different from each other, but really they are more connected then it’d seem, well at least on a narrative level.
It mostly has to do with the roots at each character's origins both are not considered equal in either of their societies. Matt being a clone and Vincent being a “Faith-Child” (for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie a Faith-Child is someone is created in natural ways, no special measures are taken). In Matt’s world clones are considered livestock that should have never been created in the first place “I’m a clone, in case you’ve forgotten. I’m livestock.” (Pg. 366) being harvested for his organs in order to keep rich and powerful people alive for much longer than a normal human. He is a creature, a filthy animal, even though Tam Lin proves that there is no difference between Matt or any other Human “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.” (Pg.245).
In Vincent’s case he has a looming fate over his head throughout his entire life, a heart condition, which makes him much less desirable when compared to the people who are specially selected in order to rid it of any negative traits that they might possess,“This child is still you, simply the best of you” - Geneticist. This Makes Vincent’s dream of being an astronaut extremely difficult to achieve, almost impossible actually all because he was conceived naturally like any of us today, unfortunately, he isn’t up to standards that are set out in his world “My father was right. It did not matter how much I lied on my resume. My real resume was in my cells. Why should anybody invest all that money to train me when there were a thousand other applicants with a far cleaner profile?” - Vincent.

Both Matt and Vincent have a deep desire to fit into their society and they’ll do whatever it takes in order to be someone who is equal, especially for Matt. Throughout the novel all he wanted to do was fit in, have a loving family with a mother and father. He wanted everyone to appreciate him for who was not for what he was. “What if he was wrong? What if El Patrón really loved him” (Pg.216)  
While it might not seem like it, Vincent ultimately wanted the same thing as Matt! He wanted to be like everyone else who was genetically superior so that he could enter the space program and become what he dreamt of becoming all his life. But his status of an “invalid” would come to haunt him for as long as attempted to enroll. So the only solution for Vincent would be to assume the identity of someone who is qualified to be there which might seem simple but is really an extremely difficult feat to pull off successfully but Vincent’s desire to become an astronaut drove him above and beyond where what he once thought was impossible became possible.
Both protagonists had a dream, a desire to be something different, something they’re not, to defy the almost impossible just to fit into society like everybody else, unfortunately, this is a huge issue in our society today, the makers of both the movie Gattaca and The House of the Scorpion brought a very relevant issue into their books in which both protagonists fought against.

Discrimination is the unjust treatment of people based on many things but could be, sex, religion, and race. It is a HUGE problem in our day and age, you might have thought this was only a problem a few decades ago, but still to this day discrimination is still present. Vincent and Matt both suffer the unfortunate stigma around their place and society and there isn’t much way for them to combat it, they obviously can’t fight back and even if they can get rid of the disgust or unequal opportunities provided, they can never fully shake that that is who they are and they really can’t change their interior identity. They will always be themselves and there is nothing they can do about it. The people who actually care will look further than what lies beyond the cells and will see the true beauty of who you are.

Anyway, I think that just about wraps this blog post, I found a very interesting news article that really relates to Gattaca and so if you want you could totally go check it out!!!

Well, that will be it from me, until next time.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

How Much Would YOU Sacrifice?

Life is hard sometimes. It could be financially or emotionally, but sometimes we don’t realize that our lives really aren’t as difficult as some others. Life for some people can be so bleak that the only option is to flee, run away, seek safety somewhere other than their home, breaking the rules all the while. All you can bring is a single backpack filled with only the bare essentials, and by bare, I mean basically nothing. The lengths you would have to go to ensure the safety of you and your families lives are humongous for some, and they aren’t just poor, they’re hopeless. everything has been blown away in an everlasting hurricane, it's almost impossible to pick up the pieces and glue them back together after that. These people might even have been doing very well in life, had a job, a happy family, a Life just like you or me. Escaping is their only option to have a chance at a happy life again.

These real world issues are quite prevalent topics in The House of the Scorpion, the country of Opium was built upon a no-mans land, farms that drug dealers would use to grow the plants and at the same time, it was a solution to an age old problem of illegal immigrants slipping through borders in search of work, “First you cannot control your borders, and second you cannot control us.” (Pg.169) “If both countries set aside land along their common border, the dealers would establish Farms and stop the flow of Illegals.” (Pg.169), Of course this is a totally fictional world and there isn’t really a country ruled by drug lords that ends up exploiting the people caught attempting to cross into mindless zombies, but Nancy Farmer eludes to the fact that illegal border crossing is obviously an issue, but it isn’t just between the United States and Mexican border but thought the world where many people are depending on a restart to build a new life where opportunities are blooming. “But Beyond, - was a great glow in the sky. “We knew that under that glow was the most wonderful place” “ Everyone had his own house and garden. Everyone wore beautiful clothes and ate only the best food. And no one worked more than four hours a day. The rest of the time people flew around in hovercraft and when to parties.” (Pg.141)

The year of 2016 was the worst ever for Mediterranean migrants, more than 3740 people have lost their life at sea trying to escape the horrible nightmares that haunt them wherever they go. The Civil war in many regions around the Middle East are a place of violence and danger, no one can really stay for they would suffer a pretty guarantee-able fate, so why not take a chance and try to start their lives again. thousands, 327,800 to be exact have attempted in recent times which is a jaw-dropping amount of people seeking refuge anywhere but their home. It really is scary and sad to realize that this is not a fantasy, but a reality for so many people. One in every 47 refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean is dying. 
Smuggling has become a huge business and is almost becoming an industrial operation, the selfish smugglers, people who are organizing these treacherous crossings, seem to be planning them in subpar weather, and in mass amounts of people, where hundreds of people are huddled in a tiny dingy that could flip at any moment, so according to the UN. 
We all see those images and stories in the news, tiny children washing up onto the barren wasteland of a shore, it’s honestly sickening that people are forced to leave home, to wind up somewhere like this. Most refugees often aren’t looking for much only a safe place where people are kind and caring. A place with shelter and warmth, a place with food and love, It may not seem like much to us, but to some, this life is anything they’d ever asked for.

There are so many different stories among immigration, migrants, and refugees so I recommend you look at a few articles on the topic if you haven’t already. I would start with the one I looked at while writing this, but this type of news is so common in these times that you will inevitably run into something to do with the topic. 
We really have to consider all the viewpoints when looking at such a sensitive matter, we shouldn’t look at immigrants and just say, “THEY ARE RAPISTS, DRUG DEALERS, CRIMINALS, WE NEED TO BUILD A WALL!!” No, we really need to accept that their situation is truly awful and they are making HUGE sacrifices in order to have a chance at a future, for their children, for themselves… 

“Even roaches hitchhiked to the next town. That’s how bad it was.”  (Pg.140) - Celia

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Matt - How Worldview Might Have Saved Him

Worldview, a mysterious and magical force that surrounds you, it fills your lungs, your bloodstream, every crack and crevasse inside and outside of your body. It may not seem like it, but Worldview is everywhere… 
Nah, just kidding, kind of, you see Worldview is a concept that has a few different interpretations but is mainly referred to as someone's perception of the world around them. Worldview’s change drastically from every person. your neighbor has a different Worldview than you, and even your parents or siblings will have a very different understanding the world than you do.
As you’ve probably been able to tell just by looking back at some recent blog posts you might be able to recognize a theme, The House of the Scorpion perhaps. for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been really examining many aspects of literature through this book, anything for setting to characterization, and even a few smaller things too. 
Continuing along the same theme, we are going to be taking a look at the main protagonists Matt’s most influential elements of Worldview and how they appear during his life.

Matt is a Clone, considered an unequal being in society and treated like awful creatures. “Equality with Others” is defiantly at play in Matt’s circumstance. The Element “Equality with Others” is the idea of well Equality, (duh I know right) do people need special privileges, are some people better or worse than others? A lot of those questions will come up when you talk about Equality with Others. 

With Matt others like often jump to the conclusion that a clone is “A bad Animal.” -Emilia (Pg.27). Most do not take the time to overlook the prejudice around Clones and understand that, “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.” - Tam Lin (Pg.245). 
Throughout the book, we see Matt not being treated as equal to all other people just because he was born a clone, “All clones are classified as livestock because they’re grown inside cows. Cows can’t give birth to humans” (Pg.226). Matt has come to understand that he will never be considered equal to any human, always being shamed and ashamed for who he is, the negativity and believe that clones are unequal in society has really affected the way Matt’s impression of himself, he is never and will never get the same opportunities or experiences of life that a “real” person might have. “You don’t have a soul, so you can’t be baptized. All animals are like that.” (Pg.159).  Matt accepts that that is just the way society is and he can’t change how others see him. “Being a clone, you’re different and a lot of people are afraid of you.” “They hate me,” Matt said simply” (Pg.80).
I know it’s really sad but even in today's society that’s how discrimination and equality are portrayed anywhere from in the news to on the streets. 

Matt is also quite influenced by View of Human Nature, someone's perception of whether they are good or evil.

Previously I did take a look at how someone could be both good and evil so go check that out I guess if you want to hear my thoughts on that, anyway Matt has a very odd view of Human nature, specifically looking at his view of El Patrón. “He liked El Patrón instinctively. There was something so right about the way the old man looked. his eyes were a good colour. Matt didn’t know why it was good, only that it was. El Parton’s face seemed oddly familiar, and his hands thin and blew-veined-had a shape that appealed to Matt in some deep way.” (Pg.57). Obviously, Matt naturally appreciates and likes El Patrón, I assume that it’s because Matt see’s his reflection in El Patrón just as we learn later that Matt had come that conclusion (or so he thought), “It was, the boy realized, simple vanity. When the old man looked at Matt, he sees himself: young, strong, and sound of mind. It was like looking into a mirror.” (Pg.192) Unfortunately, Matt was so worried when he realized that the only purpose for clones was their organs to use as implants. He talked himself so far from what he’d been dreading, convincing himself “I’m different. I wasn’t created to provide spare parts” (Pg.191) Matt was clouded by his fond judgments of the man, he thought El Patrón had given him all of the opportunities to learn and have as equal as a life as possible for a clone, and Matt really cared about El Patrón as well. 
One big flaw within Matt's reasoning was his blindness, Tam Lin and Maria’s subtle warnings to escape Matt had been too naive to realize what El Patrón’s real intentions were. From the beginning, it had been false beliefs, let's just say it came back to bite him, “Matt’s Education and accomplishments were a sham. It didn’t matter how intelligent he was. In the end, the only thing that mattered was how strong his heart was.” (Pg.216) 

Matt had been betrayed by El Patrón. Matt’s life didn’t matter, he was only created to keep El Patròn alive, nothing else. It was a theme throughout the book that was so subtle that not many would pick up on just how Matt didn’t realize it until his death… (dun dun dun, not really, though) Matt’s View of Human Nature had got him so off guard that when he finally realized what was going on, it was far too late to save him from that monster, vampire, whatever you want to call him, that was the Worldview element that really influenced the outcome of his life, because if he had realized what an evil, twisted tree El Patrón was he might've had a chance for freedom thus changing his destiny entirely.

As always feel free to add any additional comments or thoughts down below and if you liked this Blog post you might like the previous ones or even some coming in the future so stay tuned and scroll down to check out any other House of the Scorpion projects , anyways it's time for me to sign off, until next time.

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Good, The Bad, And The Truly Evil. How About All Three?!

Our world is full of people, around 7.5 million in fact, but with so many people, inevitably there ought to be some “bad apples” but how, how can a human being almost seem to have multiple personalities, multiple egos. In the House of the Scorpion, We encounter many characters that seem to have a dark side, but is this justified, how can they somehow be good and evil?

I don’t think that it’s that simple, people aren't just an angel or a devil. Many things may have an effect on a certain character's personality, a lot has to do with circumstance and experiences. At birth, your personality wasn’t just decided, that is left to your actions or life events that really shape the way you are. We can kind of see this in El Patrón and his history “We were so poor, we didn’t have two pesos to rub together” (pg.101) and of course now he is an infamous drug lord who has a ton of influence and power, not to say that he is evil or corrupt but as Tam Lin put it “El Patrón has his good side and his bad side. Very dark indeed is his majesty when he wants to be. When he was young, he made a choice, like a tree does when it decides to grow one way or the other. He grew large and green until he shadowed over the whole forest, but most of his branches are twisted.". (Pg.70) El Patrón made that choice, he took his hatred and loathing from his past and made that choice himself to be dark and mysterious.

I also believe that some people somehow disguise that element of their personality to make it seem like they're a whole different person. I feel like a person can not be two ways good and evil, on the outside they put up an exterior shell to keep people from penetrating into the inside where they do really have bad intentions. Take Tom, “Everyone trusted Tom because he had such an open, innocent face, and yet - “he’s an unnatural little weevil,” growled Tam Lin.” (Pg.67). Even Felicia has hidden her extreme loathing of Matt through her solemn personality, “I wanted to kill that abomination El Patrón keeps at his heels.” - Felicia (Pg.163) “Matt felt cold. Had had no idea how much Felicia hated him.” (Pg.163). On the outside people may seem warm and caring because of their thick mask they’ve put on to expel anyone from reading their true feelings, but when they let their full emotions and feelings out they can be the ones who are truly the beasts.

I hope you found this blog post interesting, feel free to add any additional comments on your feelings about the subject, I also encourage you to go back and take a look at my first two blog posts. (you might also find them kinda interesting) Anyway, stay tuned for more House of the Scorpion content and with that, I hope you enjoyed my input, thanks for reading!

When you’re small, you can choose which way to grow. If you’re kind and decent, you grow into a kind and decent man. If you’re like El Patrón … Just think about that.” - Tam Lin (Pg.70)

Friday, 24 February 2017

The House of the Scorpion, Diving Right In!

Welcome back everyone! A couple weeks ago we began a novel study on one of Nancy Farmers highly awarded books The House of the Scorpion, a very narrative driven novel. now after jumping head first, I’ve made it 100 pages into the book, so today I thought we might discuss a few of the topics brought up in this first section of the novel. (there will be spoilers so be sure to check out this awesome novel!)

If anyone out there has read this inspiring tale you’ll understand that it follows the life of a boy who struggles to conform with a futuristic society that doesn’t see his kind the same. I found the Nancy Farmer really grasped inspiration from today's controversies while creating her novel, It really draws from a lot of discrimination of different people even thought they were born that way and really don't have any control over who they are. 
Nancy Farmer really seemed to drive Matt’s plot and experiences and really the most of his being story from what we’ve read, through things other characters in the book make of him. We often see Matt being treated like an animal, and even being compared or treated the same as Furball, Maria’s Dog. “What Matt hated about the creature was everyone’s assumption that he and Furball were the same”. (Pg.85) I’m very curious as to why every single person believes Matt is insignificant to regular people even though he is obviously quite a bright young person, “He was in a rage to learn. He would excel, and then everyone would love him and forget he was a Clone. I really do find it interesting of the stigma surrounding clones and how they are unequal in their society, what drives the hatred towards the point that they are considered beasts? 

Continuing on the Topic of Clones, Why did El Patrón create one anyway? what purpose does a clone serve other than just an exact copy of single person (If you didn’t already know El Patrón is an infamous drug lord who is extremely rich and has a lot of power in the land of Opium), what reason did El Patrón have to create Matt? A do have a few inferences but I cannot be sure until I get farther into the book, I speculate that Matt was created to extend El Patróns influence over Opium and inherit his entire drug empire. El Patrón seems to have a real passion for Matt and almost a fatherly connection, (Anyone - anyone - who harms Matt will be dealt with severely. Do I make myself clear?” (Pg.63) Other than the fact that Matt was derived from the skin of El Patron, why would we see him show such care and protection over Matt if he’s merely “A bad animal” (Pg.27) as Emilia put it, In my mind, it just doesn’t fit! Even at birth, we get a hint that Matt’s special, “Don’t fix that one,” said Lisa, hastily catching his arm. “It’s a Matteo Alacrán. They're always left intact.” (Pg.4) Does that give some kind of a hint into what El Patrón wants from his clones, I don’t know I guess we’ll have to find out later. 
I feel Matteo Alacrán still has a lot to discover about his roots, his creator seems to be keeping a few secrets that may be uncovered soon. Well, that will be all for now, hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for more House of the Scorpion material and if you’re still hungry for more of this incredible novel scroll down to see my initial blog post at the begging of this project anyway until next time… 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Get Excited for The House of the Scorpion!

Today I have some exciting news for all litspiration blog readers, We are going to pick up a new book and launch a whole novel study on The House of the Scorpion! In this project, we will be diving deep into the text discovering ways to effectively analyze text to better connect with big ideas that are presented as well as clearly understanding some of the author's international choices. 
During this project we will also be examining the aspects of The House of the Scorpion allowing curiosity to guide the way, exploring new concepts of literature as well as engaging in tasks individually and collaboratively. I have never read one of Nancy Farmer's literary masterpieces before so I am quite intrigued to explore one of her books in a novel study, this way I can really push past the boundaries of just reading to actually examining.  
This will be a long journey but I am quite excited to be sharing my thoughts and discoveries with my litspiration blog readers and really dig in to expand my literary abilities expanding and flourishing while reading this novel, pushing the boundaries of my capabilities and seeing where this novel takes me. You will see many more posts on the topic of this novel in the future so get excited cause The House of the Scorpion is coming your way!

Monday, 24 October 2016

The Freedom of Childhood

As our class watched The Little Prince I really realized the significance of the presence of whimsical ideas in a child’s world. Quite often we recall the pleasant memories of adolescence, escaping our realities, fears, and struggles to a kingdom in our minds built up from the stones of fantasies. It’s a land of our own that is special to each and every one of us. Childhood is such an important part in your life and yet you only get to experience it once, therefore we should be treating our youth as if it was as precious as diamonds.
I remember always reading of magical tales with my parents before bed drifting off into a deep slumber, molding Play-Dough into many different shapes and using the large array of colours to create my own story, allowing my imagination to cascade freely across a blank sheet in splashes or strokes, and waking up Christmas morning thrilled to imagine what lay beneath the shimmering tree. These were some of my most brilliant memories from my youth. I couldn’t begin to imagine what my life would be like if all these experiences were locked away.

The boundaries of imagination are limitless and should not be confined by the expectations of a looming future.
Whimsical ideas can create valuable impressions on children sparking curiosity, inspiration and even imagination. It can teach kids proper morals and beliefs, in other words what is right or wrong in society, and propels children to dream big and achieve their dreams.
In fact many of us gain positive attributes from these very ideas taught at childhood!
Could you imagine, though, what life would be like without these fantasies: Exactly!
It would appear as if all the bright twinkling stars vanished from the darkened sky.
Kids grow up dreaming dreams, thinking thoughts, questioning questions; it’s essential to encourage all kids to believe and continue inquiring throughout youth and into adulthood.
Even so, just because you’re aging doesn’t mean you have to forget all of the blissful experiences you had, because As Walt Disney once said, “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.”