Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Gattcorpion!


    Recently in class, we watched “Gattaca”. This was a movie made in 1997 about a futuristic world where people that are not “genetically perfect” were looked down upon. Sounds a lot like something familiar, right? In this movie, the main character, Vincent, had dreams of going to space. As he grew up, he became smarter and stronger, still pursuing his dream. You would think that everything would be okay, but his DNA predicted that he would die of a heart attack at the age of 30. This world knew how to read your DNA, and if you weren’t a perfect 10, then you wouldn’t get a good job. This movie shows Vincent cheating his way around these DNA tests until he finally gets to space. As you may notice, this is a lot like “The House of the Scorpion”. The two protagonists both have many dreams, and are looked down upon in society. But what makes them like this? I think it is because of many reasons.

    First of all, I think the biggest reason why both Matt and Vincent are like each other is because of their dreams. They both had dreams to do something with their life. Vincent wanted to go to space, and Matt just wanted to live a long life. This was also really shown in these stories because of the way they were looked down upon in society because they were different. Vincent and Matt both had to fake who there were to get what they want. I think that this environment around them really shaped their identity and their dreams.

    Next, I think the setting was also a big piece to the puzzle. Both of these places are futuristic societies where they only want the most efficient workers. Because of their advanced technology and number of jobs available, they were looked down upon as different, and therefore, not good. Around with this theme, their family was also a big part. For Matt, most of the Alacrans thought he would never be useful. For Vincent, they always thought that he was the superior.

    Finally, I think the last big reason why this characterization happened was because of their few supporters. People like Celia, Tam Lin, and Maria in “The House of the Scorpion”. In “Gattaca”, people like Jerome or Irene. Even though many people looked down on Vincent, these few people praised and believed in them. I think that this pushed them to have accomplished their goals.

    I would say that there are a couple other reasons too, although, not as important as these 3 listed above. The majority of it was the people and setting surrounding them. Also, the futuristic society helped a lot.

“No matter how you feel. Get up, dress up, show up, and never give up” - Unknown

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Farms, Coyotes and Borders: Oh My!

Welcome back! Today, we are going to continue on with the scorpion project. Right now, I’m nearing the end of the book, and it's taken a big turn. Matt barely got away from the farm patrol as they had his backpack but he took it off just in time and escaped into Aztlan. This farm patrol seem like it has a lot of connections within the real world. Many people/things exist like this today, for example, border patrollers. But why do we need border patrols? Obviously, because people are trying to escape their country. This kind of makes sense, although we also don’t know why they are trying to escape their country. The answer to this is because of multiple reasons.

    As you already know, Trump was elected president. He really promotes strong borders and making sure the country is safe. The problem is, a lot of people don’t feel safe around him. Some of these people are actually scared. These people want to move to other countries such as Canada. But sadly, they can’t. It costs a lot of money to move to other countries. This leaves only two options: Stay in the country, or move to another illegally. A lot of these people decide to move illegally. This problem, that was created in the U.S. affects us outside of the country.

    Don’t get me wrong, this problem is not just created by Trump, but many other reasons. Some of these could include why Celia left Aztlan. Not because the country was war torn or she was feeling threatened, but because she just wanted to change her life. “But beyond [The Farms], where the United States lay, was a great glow in the sky. We knew that under the glow was a most wonderful place” (p.141). I would estimate that this is one of the biggest reasons why people immigrate. But again, like Celia, they don’t have much money which is why they find people like coyotes to smuggle them out of the border.

    Switching gears a bit, in the book, there are multiple orphanages with kids that all want a better life, like Celia. I would say that Aztlan is a constantly growing country, which means the population is always expanding. As this grows, the coyotes then would move more and more people to the farm patrol. This would cause the need for more farm patrol. So because people want to change their lives because of whatever reason, other countries have to expand their border security. This is happening right now in Canada. More and more people are moving from the U.S, Syria, Mexico, etc. that we have to get more border patrollers.

     Due to all of these reasons, I think that “The House of the Scorpion” accurately represents quite a few of the problems that are happening here today. Many people are fleeing out of the country for many different reasons, and we have to expand our border patrol to respond. Do you have any more examples? Be sure to comment! Thanks for reading!

Link to News Article:


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Worldviews with Matt!

Hello and welcome back to Ben’s Book Blog! As you already know, I am directing my blog posts towards the novel “The House of the Scorpion” for a while. While reading, I have noticed that almost all the worldview elements are in this book. But which one effects Matt the most? I think this would be view of human nature.

Matt is constantly evaluating people to find out whether they are “good” or “bad”. If you’ve read the book, Matt has always thought about Celia as a good person. He also always viewed Tom as bad. These are classic examples about how Matt connected with view of human nature.

I also chose this worldview element because Matt changes his opinion about people a lot. A perfect example of this is Maria. Throughout the book, they were always fighting or playing together. Ex. “’Good,’ Maria said. She popped bits of food into Matt’s mouth until he couldn’t eat anymore.” (Pg.30) “’You pig!’ cried Maria, who had furball ensconced in a bag slung over her shoulder. ‘Just once be nice to Tom. I’ve moved his card right back”’(Pg. 103) Because these thoughts changed so much, it was obvious that this was view of human nature. Another example of this is Felicia. Matt never hated, liked, or even knew Felicia, “Her fingers flew from one end of the keyboard to the other… The music was wonderful, though”(Pg.86) but as the book progressed it was obvious that she was up to something. '“So I poured one of… my bottles on the hamburger that the idiot clone left behind’… ‘he ate the whole thing”’(Pg.163).

Finally, this worldview element really soared above the others because, throughout the book, Matt was always asking himself whether he was good or evil. For example, when Matt and Maria were hiding in the secret passageway, they talked a lot about themselves and whether they were bad or not. “’I don’t mind’ he whispered. ‘If I had a soul, I’d probably wind up in hell anyway.’” (Pg. 159) This example even bolded itself more since throughout the book, his own opinions about himself were always changing. Until he made some accidents he never questioned his human nature, and when he did do something bad, he did question his human nature.

All of these examples piled up on top of each other so high that it was clear that this worldview element towered above the rest. The way he viewed people, how consistently he changed his view of people, and how he looked at himself showed this. Do you think that this worldview affects Matt the most? Be sure to comment! Thanks for reading!







Monday, 27 February 2017

Good AND Evil? How does that Work?

Hello again and welcome back to Ben's Book Blog! We are now halfway through this immersive story. Recently, an interesting topic has popped up in class. The topic is: “How do you justify the idea that a person can be good and evil at the same time”. This is an interesting question because it really depends on what you think defines good and evil. Overall, I have two ideas where you can be of both alignments at the same time.

First, I think that you can be on “both sides” if you have intentions to be on one side, but your actions or the result of your actions show the other side. A very good example of this was when Matt took Furball and the bottle of laudanum. He had good intentions of talking to Maria, but the result of his actions turned out to be bad when Felicia gave Furball a big dose of laudanum.  I think this reason is also true if you are acting as a “double agent” for one side. An example of this is that Felicia looks good on the outside, and has good actions, but on the inside, she wants to hurt Matt. You are technically “helping” one side with your actions, but also “helping” the other side with your intentions.

My second idea is that you can be both good and evil if you have different opinions on different topics. For example, El Patron may be an evil, powerful drug lord, while still being good, or nice to his family and friends. (Or in this case clones). Another example is that Tam Lin may be evil because he wanted to kill the prime minister, and blew up a bus with lots of kids inside. But he is also good since he treats Matt like another human and gave him gifts and protection.

Even though I think these points are true, it really depends on what you think is good and bad. Maybe Tam Lin trying to blow up the prime minister was good instead of bad. Maybe Felicia’s intentions are good? It all narrow's down to who you are as a person.


Do you think that these two points both count? What do you think is good and bad? Comment your opinion! Thank you for reading!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The thoughts of the Scorpion



Welcome back to Ben's Book Blog!!! As you know, I have been reading "The House of the Scorpion" in class. This is a narrative-driven novel so already at the first 100 pages, the story has really picked up. In this blog post, I really wanted to talk about some ideas I had about the theme and some of the characters in the book. So far the main character, Matt (A clone), has had been treated a lot differently than he would be if he was a human. Many people hate him because he is different. This is also the same case with the "ee`jits" in the story. These are humans with chips inside their heads. Kind of like cyborgs. In the book, many of the characters use the word "eejit" as an insult. (Pg. 17: "Save me from ejects," Steven said rolling his eyes. "I'm not an eejit either!" said Maria.) Characters in the book also call Matt a "beast" because he is a clone. (Pg. 39: "She takes care of the beast" they say) I think that these characters act this way towards clones and eejits because humans have a natural tendency to act out towards things that are different from themselves. Take a superhero like superman for example. You can easily see that many people hate him just because he is different. Back in the book, maybe something happened in the past where the eejits revolted against the humans. I could think that this is possible since the book takes place in a location that used to be Mexico. Maybe that is how the downfall of Mexico came about. One person could have started an uprising against the government. This person could be El Patron (The powerful drug lord) if you think about it. I know that he can make eejits. When he was rising in power he could have used these eejits to overthrow the country and make even more eejits, expanding his power, making him and unstoppable force. There is evidence for this in the chapter “Celia’s Story”. Before Matt was made and El Patron was still rising in power, it talks about El Patron almost turning Celia into an eejit. (“He asked if I had any skills and from that moment on, I belong to El Patron… They were all turned into eejits”.) This could be for multiple purposes, but I think that they were most likely used for military services.

These were a few comments on the first 100 pages of the book “The House of the Scorpion”. It has been a really exciting book so far and I can’t wait to read more of it! Comment what you think the eejits were used for. Thanks for reading!

Friday, 10 February 2017

A New Project...

Hello and welcome back to my blog!!! Recently, we have started a new novel study on "The House of the Scorpion". It looks like a good book and I'm really excited.

Over the course of the next month or two we will be doing lots of individual and group posts, tasks and challenges specific to this book. So far, I feel that this is going to be a really fun project. I can't wait to read the book and work as a group. I'm a little uneasy about how many posts we are going to have to write, but I should be able to keep up with them!

This was just a little update, but don't worry, theres lots more to come.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Renaissance Olympics!

As a project I have created a interactive presentation that compares many different renaissances. Click on the link to get started!


Guide: Please navigate yourself through the presentation by clicking on the little circles and buttons. At the start of the presentation it might start moving to different frames randomly. All you have to do is click the button to the left, and then click the "Back to page one" button in the corner.

Thanks!