Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Final Blog Post

Our most loyal readers,
    We have completed our novel The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer and therefore we will no longer be posting anything on this blog. We were asked to answer these questions:

Which of your three litspiration challenges is "the most awesome"?
     We think our third and final litspiration challenge (the movie trailer) was the most awesome.
What makes it stand out compared to others?
      Our third challenge was rather unique and every clip was both entertaining and relevant to the novel.
Why is it your best, in your opinion?
      We think it's the best because it was unique, original, hilarious, and we put in a lot of effort and time into the editing and selecting scenes from the book that would be relevant to our trailer.
What could've been improved on?
        We think that we could have made some of the camera work less bumpy and found ways to make it more

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Litspiration Challenge #3

For our third litspiration challenge we created a movie trailer for the book The House of the Scorpion. However instead of focusing on the plot of the novel we tried to think more critically about the book and create a movie trailer regarding the theme of the novel.


To see our video click here. The password for our video is: Arthrophobia


     We thought long and about the theme (to hear our discussion please view round table number six) and we finally decided that the biggest theme in the novel is that others can't decide your self worth, you do. We chose two quotes by Tam Lin that we thought well represented this theme. The first one we chose was "Any rat in a sewer can lie but a human doesn't because he is something more." (Farmer ). We thought it was very important that there were people in the novel who thought of Matt as a person. Tam Lin was one of the very few who saw Matt not as a clone but as an equal. Even Maria who Matt cares very much about still sees him as a clone at times. For example Maria tells Matt that, like an animal, he doesn't have a soul so instead when he dies he can neither go to heaven or hell but he stays somewhere in the middle. The second quote we chose was also told by Tam Lin and it was "No one can tell a 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). Like the first quote we thought it was important that there were people in Matt life that believed he could be more and that he could become someone, not an it. We also thought it important that Tam Lin said this to Matt because throughout the novel Tam Lin acts as the fatherly figure and it's obvious that Matt takes strength from Tam Lin's words and we thought if anyone else had said this Matt he may not have believed those words as much as if Tam Lin had told him. Since he truly idolizes Tam Lin his encouragement helps Matt break past the opinion of others.
     We chose scenes from the novel that related to our theme statement from the beginning in the lab where Matt was born to Mr. Alacran throwing Matt out of the house because he was a clone and Matt learning to the play the piano. Music was a very important part of Matt's individual person because El Patron's other clones hadn't taken music as Matt had and this is one of the differences that helps Matt to be different person than El Patron or one of the other clones. If you have any questions feel free to email us or leave a comment.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Round Table #6

This is our sixth round table where we discuss our ideas on the theme of the novel.


Thanks for listening! :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Round Table #5

Here is our fifth round table on the Middle Age and Old Age sections of the novel.



Hope you enjoy! :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Litspiration Challenge #2

For our second litspiration challenge (which was chosen for us) we are doing a playlist for Maria Mendoza from our novel The House of the Scorpion. We have all chosen two songs that we think describe Maria or is something she might listen to.


Click here for credit. 
Change by Taylor Swift 
Chosen and Written by Kirsten
We chose this song for Maria’s playlist for several reasons the main one being the message that the lyrics convey. The lyrics talk about fighting a battle and waiting for change this is a very fitting metaphor for Matt’s and Maria’s situation. Maria wants to be friends with Matt but her family is stopping her from talking to him however she fights them and sneaks away to spend time with Matt and is constantly waiting for the day she does not have to sneak away anymore.  The other reason we chose this song was the upbeat tune to represent how hopeful Maria was that things would actually change. Some of the lyrics that I thought best suited Maria’s character within this song are:-  “ Can you feel it now these wall that they put up to hold us back will fall down.” This is my favorite verse in the whole song as it illustrates that Matt is an outcast and held back by the fact he is a clone however Maria ignores this and loves him for who he is not what he is. ( “I love you,” Matt said. “I love you, too,” said Maria. Farmer 222) - “These things will change.” Although it is a simple phrase it definitely reflects the hope Maria has throughout the book. - “ It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair.” This phrase is also a very powerful  expression of Maria’s life she is constantly trying to fight what she believes is wrong such as testing on animals (“ They’re doing experiments on cats.” Maria cried suddenly. “Oh, please! You’ve got to help me rescue them.” Farmer 118). or bringing Matt food when he is taken prisoner (“ Rosa said they didn’t give you dinner . She’s so mean!.” Farmer 30). However she is fighting against people that have a lot of power over her so her fight is hard to win. If you would like to listen to this song click here.

If No One Will Listen by Keri Noble
Chosen and Written by Danika
“If no one will listen when you decide to speak
if no one’s left standing after the bombs explode
if no one wants to look at you for what you really you are, i’ll be here still”
The song describes how Maria listens to Matt even when no one else does. For example, “if no one will listen if you decide to speak” explains how no one listens to Matt when he tries to say something, like about not killing Furball. “The bombs explode” is also a metaphor for when people found out he was a clone, and therefore leads to the next line, “if no one wants to look at you for what you really are, I’ll be here still.” Maria did exactly that because when they found out what Matt really was (a clone) she continued to see him.
“If you find your fists are raw and red from beating yourself down
if your legs have given out under the weight
if you find that you’ve been settling for a world of grey
so you wouldn’t have to face down your own hate”

This describes how Matt thinks less of himself because he is a “dirty clone” and that he doesn’t always do anything to change the way people think of him. This connects to Maria because when he tried to explain that he didn’t kill the dog, he eventually just gave up and let Maria and everyone else think that. After the Furball incident and Maria finds out the truth, I think the song relates even more to her because she now trusts Matt and listens to him even more.

“But what if you unlock the gate that keeps your secret soul?

do you think there’s enough that you might drown?”
This really describes a conversation Maria had with Matt because she’s talking about how Matt doesn’t have a soul, which is why he’s like an animal. But I think if Maria listened to this song she might think about if Matt really does have a “secret soul”, and differentiate from El Patron despite being his clone. 

I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz
Chosen and Written by Jami
Click here for credit.
*“I won’t give up on us, even if the skies get rough...” Maria won’t give up on Matt (or Tom for that matter) through the difficulties they face. Even though Tom and Matt can be mean to Maria she’ll be angry for a little while but in the end she’s still their friend and she’ll still be there.
*”I’m still lookin’ up..” Maria seems like the sort of character who always looks on the bright side and even in dark times she can find the good like she can find the good in people or clones like Matt.
*”I’ll be here patiently waitin’...” We chose this lyric specifically because it reminded us of when Matt stopped speaking and Maria waited (though not that patiently) for him to start talking again and she was there as much as she could be.
*”God knows you’re worth it...” We thought this lyric represented Maria’s religious beliefs. In chapter eighteen (A Starved Bird) Maria explains “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 beside him. She was even more beautiful close up. “Saint Francis took a wolf to church,” she said. “He loved all animals.” (Farmer 154)
*”I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily I’m here to stay and make the difference I can make. Our difference they teach us a lot for how to use the tools we got. We got a lot at stake and in the end you’re still my friend at least for us to work we didn’t break we didn’t burn we had to learn how to bend without the world cavin’ in. I had to learn what I’ve got, what I’m not and who I am...” We thought this whole part of the song represented Maria because of the reasons explained above and I wanted to point out the bolded line in particular. I thought it was almost a perfect representation of Maria and Matt’s relationship that has gone through hard times but like the song says they didn’t break, they didn’t burn and they’re still friends.
If you'd like to listen to this song, click here.

Song of Healing by Koji Kondo
Chosen by Joel, Written by Daniel
The whole song, despite being instrumental, represents healing your soul.. This represents Maria because she wanted to heal Matt’s soul after she believes that animals can also have souls. She also wants to heal his soul after he shows that he is sorry. Finally, she wanted to forgive Matt for what he did to heal her own soul. That what Maria’s character is all about, really: Forgiveness. She wants to forgive all who wrong her as well as those she wrongs.


Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield
Chosen and Written by Kirsten
Click here for credit.
We picked this song for Maria’s playlist because we wanted a song that reflected her upbeat and optimistic personality despite the turmoil in her life. The title of the song itself (A Pocketful of Sunshine) demonstrates what we are looking for the song talks about never being broken or controlled and this really fits Maria as she often getting in trouble however she stubbornly clings to what she wants and won’t let go.
Some of the lyrics that I thought best suited Maria’s character within this song are:
- “ Do what you want but you’ll never control me.” I think this lyric suits Maria’s determination and despite the fact she gets into a lot of trouble she remains that way and still remains friends with Matt. ( “You’re going to be in big trouble when Dada finds out.” called Emilia. “Be sure and tell him!” retorted Maria.  Farmer 154 ).
- “ No more lies and nobody cries..” This illustrates the way Maria wants the world to be.
- ‘A sweet escape..” This represents how Maria longs for an escape either from her strict boarding school or her fathers harsh rules ( “No. I can’t guess what Dada would do if he found it.” Farmer 210 ).
If you would like to listen to this song click here.

Wish Them Well by Rush
Chosen and Written by Joel
Wish Them Well relates to Maria mainly at this part: Thank your stars you're not that way Turn your back and walk away Don't even pause and ask them why Turn around and say goodbye It relates to what people say about Matt, like the priest, and how Maria thinks differently as opposed to everybody’s expectations. Everybody is disgusted at Matt, and it feels like Maria isn’t and trusts him a little more. She may feel as if people are unreasonable towards Matt. Especially where is says “thank your stars you’re not that way” it relates to people in the novel saying “good thing YOU are not a clone.”People who judge without a measure of mercy All the victims who will never learn Even the lost ones, you can only give up on This relates to what Maria thinks and how everyone judges Matt just because he is a slave. She thinks more of him, and so she ‘wishes him well.’ Everyone judges Matt without giving it a seconds thought, judging without a measure of mercy, all because he is a clone. It was amazing to see early on in the novel at how the children reacted to Matt before and after discovering that he was a clone. The sentence “all the victims who will never learn” could show how Maria thinks that there are so many people that will never learn the not all clones are animals. The “lost ones” could possibly refer to the people like Tom and Felicia that absolutely despise Matt just because he is a clone. Even though you're going through hell Just keep on going Let the demons dwell Just wish them wellThis shows how Maria is confused about her emotions and “going through hell” about who to trust, who she should be friends with like Tom or Matt. The demons can refer to everyone who says “Matt is a slave so I hate him” and how she does not know what to think of that, so she lets them dwell, and, of course, wishes Matt well. The ones who've done you wrong The ones who pretended to be so strong This also relates to how Maria felt after she had discovered how evil Tom and Felicia were while in the secret closet.Afterwords, Maria wishes Matt well and forgives him for something he didn’t do. She and him grow closer. “The ones who pretended to be so strong” refers to Tom and how she now looks at him in a new light after he showed joy at Furball’s death.

I Got You by Leona Lewis
Chosen and Written by Danika
“No need to ask, I got you
come and pick you up if I have to
and when you need a place to run to, for better for worse, I got you”

This is what happens almost exactly in Chapter 15. Matt is in the line to pay his respects to El Viejo, and the Priest proclaims that this cannot be at the funeral. Maria comes along and defends Matt, despite the fact that she was upset with him, hadn’t seen him for months, and he didn’t ask for him help (Farmer 154). Then she tries to take him to a place where they can “run to” and hide.
“Go ahead and make me cry,
I’ll be alright”

Maria was angry and upset with Matt, and she cried when he humiliated her at the birthday party and also when he “killed” Furball. Despite everything though, Maria came to Matt’s rescue and proved that she was okay as long as he was.

“’Cause this is love and life, and nothing we can control”

Finally, this lyric describes their relationship, and even though they can’t control the actions of others and the hate towards Matt coming off of pretty much everybody, they can always be friends. Despite being upset with each other (quite often) they know they can’t control it but they can control their forgiveness to each other.
If you'd like to listen to this song, click here.

Open Secrets by Rush

Click here for credit.
Chosen and Written by Joel
I lie awake with my secrets
Spinning around my head
Something that somehow escaped me
Something you shouldn't have said
I was looking out the window
I should have looked at your face instead.
This song kind of represents Maria and Matt’s feelings for each other. Maria felt like she was “looking out the window” when thinking that Matt killed Furball and was terrible, but now she “lies awake with her secrets.” This represents just after she discovered that Matt did not kill Furball. “Something that somehow escaped me, something you shouldn’t have said” could relate to when all the puzzle pieces were coming together, and she tried to figure out how she did not realize the culprit beforehand. Also, it shows that she started off running from the problem, but in the end she had to face it personally.
The things that we're concealing
Will never let us grow
Time will do its healing
You've got to let it go
The first half of this part of the song shows that Maria was concealing her true feelings for Matt, and how they would never advance in their relationship if they keep it hidden. The second half could refer to how Maria needs to let go of what she previously thought of Matt.
Closed for my protection
Open to your scorn
Between these two directions
My heart is sometimes torn
This shows how Maria is torn between being with Tom or Matt, two opposite ends of the spectrum. She has lots of feelings, and is torn between them.
You could try to understand me
I could try to understand you.
This shows Maria and Matt trying to understand each other more and be together.

Maria's Song by Joel (Joel's own composition)

Chosen and Written by Joel
To hear the song, click here.
I created this song to try to represent Maria and her moods throughout the novel. At first, she is happy to be with Matt, and then as the story progresses she is sad and emotional (which is the part where the piano begins), and is forced to leave Matt after falsely accusing him of killing Furball. Then, later, the song gets quiet and “bassey,” and this shows the part of the novel where Matt and Maria are hiding in the secret closet and she begins to forgive Matt. I attempted to recreate Maria’s mood loosely throughout the novel, Although it can be kind of difficult without lyrics to truly represent.


Click here for credit.

I Forgive You by Kelly Clarkson
Chosen by Kirsten, Written by Jami
*”No shame, no blame the damage is done..” We thought this related well to Matt because he’s already a clone and he can’t change who he is but everyone hates him for being a clone but Maria doesn’t care and she’s still friends with him anyways.
*”I forgive you...” Maria’s a very forgiving person as we have mentioned many times. Even though Tom and Matt, in particular, can be very mean to Maria she forgives them and I think Maria believes that she can change them and make those who are bad into good people. “He’s getting more like MacGregor, but I can change him.” “You can’t change Tom,” Matt said. “Patience and love can do anything,” Maria said. (Farmer 209)

Life of Pi(Movie or book) -Daniel

One notable thing about Maria is that she takes a strong passion for her religion as well as have some personal religious conflict by being with Matt, who she believes for some of the book, doesn’t have a soul. I believe that she would enjoy Life of Pi because like her, Pi also faces a lot of conflict over his faith. I think that mainly because of this, she would be able to connect to Pi. I also think that Matt would be similar to the tiger because they would both believe that the one person they care about the most doesn’t have a soul.


Thanks for reading our litspiration challenge! We hope you liked it!
*Note: We've been having formatting issues where blogger doesn't save little format changes or creates unnecessary spaces. Please note we have tried our best to resolve this issue for your viewing pleasure. :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Round Table #4

This is our fourth round table about what character we are choosing for our next litspiration challenge.



Hope you enjoyed! :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Round Table #3

Our third round table discussion was on the second part of The House of the Scorpion. Danika was not here however the rest of us were you can find the video here:
Link: https://vimeo.com/64690572
Password: Arthrophobia

Enjoy and watch for more round tables and litspiration challenges! :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Litspiration Challenge #1

Our first group litspiration post is about setting. We have drawn a picture of the most prominent settings that occur throughout the reading we've done so far. We have also included songs we think match the settings and a short explanation. Please enjoy.

The Lab:
By Daniel

“Water bubbled through tubes that snaked around the warm, humid walls. Air was sucked into growth chambers. A dull, red light shone on the faces of the workers as they watched their own arrays of little glass dishes. Each one contained a drop of life.” -pg. 2

The reason parts of the image were dark is because this chapter briefly explains Eduardo. A lot of emphasis is put on how Eduardo's future is uncertain, but the only thing lighting up the room, and his future, is Matt's image on the monitor. The other side is dark to symbolize the uncertain future for Matt, and Eduardo's concern for him. Another particular part of the drawing was the part of the quote where they mention the tubes snaking around the lab. This inspired me to draw the tubes to look as if they were actual snakes. I also designed the cows to look very obedient, as a reference to the computer chips in their brain.
Here's a link to a song that relates to this chapter, "Exile Vilify" by The National:
The reason I chose this song is because the song is somewhat uncertain sounding, yet also a bit more cheerful sounding. The line "You got sucker's luck" Shows that Matt was unlucky in his life and Eduardo's concern for him. Also "It takes your mind" is similar to the mind numbing clone drug. This song, to me, symbolizes the future of Matt's suffering and confusion Eduardo knows all so well. 

The Little House in the Poppy Fields:
By Jami
‘He’d looked out the window where the fields of white poppies stretched all the way to the shadowy hills. The whiteness hurt his eyes, and so he turned from them with relief to the cool darkness inside.’ ~pg. 6

“It was much smaller, being half filled by his bed. The walls were covered in pictures Celia had torn out of magazines: movie stars, animals, babies- Matt wasn’t thrilled by the babies, but Celia found them irresistible-flowers, news stories. There was one of acrobats standing on one another in a pyramid. SIXTY-FOUR! The caption said. A NEW RECORD AT LUNAR COLONY. ~Pg. 8


    I chose to draw my picture from Matt’s room looking out at the poppy fields. On the walls I put pictures of flowers, animals, babies, new stores etc. because of second quote we chose. We also decided that the little house in the poppy fields was like a home to Matt because it’s where he spent the beginning of his life and there were many happy memories that occurred in the house.
    For the song we chose Lights of my Hometown by Aaron Lines because it talks about going home and how ‘everything makes sense” when you get there. We thought it fit really well. The comforting tone of the music fits the thought of Matt’s home as well.


The Prison:
By Joel
This is my picture of Matt in prison:

This picture occurs in the novel after the members of the Alacran family discover that Matt is a clone, and so they hand him over to Rosa, the evil housemaid. He is thrown in a barn that was later filled with sawdust. In my picture he is admiring a dove feather. The picture also shows his "kingdom" underneath the sawdust where bugs, food, bones, etc. that he acquired were kept. I attempted to make the Prison look pretty bleak, like Farmer described it. "The days passed with agonizing slowness, followed by nights of misery. He dreamed of the little house, of Celia, of a meadow so intensely green it made him cry when he woke up." So, here it is. Hope you like it!

I also had to choose a song to represent this time. I chose the song Still Alive by GLaDOS and Jonathan Coulton. Listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI
It should be quite obvious why I chose this song... It says in the title of the song! It perfectly describes Matt at this time, Still Alive, not dead yet, etc. The song also talks about science (the way Matt was created) and although it does not completely follow the story, the story shows things kind of from Matt's point of view. He waits for the day that he can be rescued and, like the song states: Believe me I am still alive. 

The Big House:
By Kirsten


“A magnificent bird with a long green tail stepped delicately across the walk.” -pg. 54

“The dirt path gave way to a wide lawn. It was shimmering green, growing deeper with the blue light of the evening. Matt had never seen so much green in his life.” -pg. 20

“They started up a flight of wide, marble step that shone softly in the darkening air. On either side were orange trees, and all at once the lamps went on among the leaves. Lights outlined the white walls of a vast house above, with pillars and statues and doorways going who knew where. In the center of an arch was the carved outline of a scorpion.” -pg. 20


The scene of the big house occurs many times throughout the first two sections of the novel. However the first time it is mentioned is when Matt jumps out the window to try and talk to the kids from the big house. He gets glass in his feet and the kids from the big house take him to their house so he can see a doctor. When he arrives he is astounded by the beauty of it.


When creating the drawing of the big house we found a lot of evidence from the book and right away we inferred  that the big house would be an important and recurring scene based on the amount of detail it was mentioned in. Some of the details from the book I included were: the orange trees, a statue, the green lawn, the colour of the house (white), the grey steps, the dirt path and the magnificent blue bird which I assumed was a peacock. The quotes I used for this information is written above. Picturing and drawing the big house was quite easy because of all the context provided. However it was extremely difficult to match the scene to the song. We spent a long time looking for a song that was intense and majestic like the house, and in the end, could not find one that fit our expectations. Therefore, we decided to create a song with Garageband loops instead. The song starts out with an eerie electric piano part we chose this loop because we think it demonstrates how Matt felt about the house when he first arrived. The song has a spooky and forbidding sound to it because Matt had never seen anything so large and he had no idea what was in store for him inside the house. However there is also a part of the beat that is more upbeat this component of it expresses Matts sense of wonder as he sees the house. The beat that comes in intensifies the song and is supposed to show how frightened Matt was when they discovered he was a clone. The beat becomes more upbeat to demonstrate how Matt felt when he first met El Patron. Finally at the end of the song the electric piano part becomes more joyful to demonstrate the feeling of hope and finally belonging as Celia is allowed to take him back home.

Listen to my song here: https://soundcloud.com/kirstencla/big-house-setting-song 



The Oasis:
By Danika
“The scene on the other side was completely unexpected. Creosote bushes and paloverde trees framed a small, narrow valley, and in the center of this was a pool of water. At the far end, Matt saw shoals of little brown fish that darted away from his shadow.” -pg. 79


In my drawing, I used supporting details from the book to create what I imagined the oasis would look like. As you can see, I included the shoals of small brown fish and did my best to capture the look of the Paloverde trees and Creosote bushes. I also included steep hills to give the look of a valley with a lake nested in the middle. I included these things because of this quote found on page 79 of the novel, (which you can find underneath my drawing above) that described these things, so I followed this evidence. 

I also included a song that I think describes the tone of the setting itself and the drawing, Paradise by Coldplay. In my drawing and the quote, the tone is bright and hopeful, beautiful, and a little mysterious. The song is upbeat, which describes the brightness of the oasis, but includes string instruments in the background which makes it seem more mysterious and beautiful. The lyrics sound hopeful as well. In the song, it says “When she was just a girl, she expected the world. But it flew away from her reach, so she ran away in her sleep.” This reminds me of Matt when he was a boy (rather than a girl) because he would dream about Celia in his sleep, when he could see her in his dreams. Then in the chorus it says, “She dreamed of para-para-paradise,” which also describes what he imagines. This relates to the oasis because I think this was the place where good things started happening to Matt: he made a friend, Tam Lin which gave him hope, and found a “paradise” of his own.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed. :)