Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

I have started creating posts for Top Ten Tuesdays which is a reading meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Stay tuned for my Top Ten Tuesday Posts.

Top Ten Favourite Book Covers (of books you've read)

1. The cover of The Sight

This is the book I am currently reading right now and after getting a recommendation for it on goodreads I had to buy it! There are several reasons I like this cover first of all it is pretty! I know, I know don't judge a book by its cover. #judgingbooksbytheircovers. Secondly it relates with the novel. Most covers in books today have intriguing graphics however they don't make sense as you read the novel. A good example of this is the cover for Cinder. It shows a leg wearing a red high heeled shoe and metal under the skin but throughout the book Cinder never wears red high heels nor does she have skin over her metal leg. For The Sight however the cover makes sense with the book. Finally I like how there is a synopsis about the book on the back of the novel that way I don't have to go through all the effort of opening the book to find the synopsis! I also like the way the text is laid out everything is clear and easy to read or find and the title is large and important looking but not over-powering.


2. The cover of Plain Kate 

When I saw this book in a book store I quickly grabbed it off the shelves because the cover interested me. The book sounded intriguing so I bought it and I was extremely happy to discover that the cover matched the novel. The main character never wears a blue scarf however she does go on the roof tops at one point during the novel and she has a cat. I also really like the font and colour of the title.

3. The cover of Insurgent 

I love the graphics of this cover I like the way the tree looks and I  thought the use of dark and light colours it really illustrates the mood of the book.


4. The cover of Prodigy 

I thought the contrast between blue and black on the cover made the book extremely eye-catching. I also really enjoy the graphics on the cover.


5. The cover of Tiger's Curse

I love the image of the tiger and how the corners of the cover are decorated. I also thought the font of the title made the cover more intriguing and eye-catching. 
6. The cover of Blood Red Road

The image on this cover is stunning and it really suits the mood of the book. Even when everything is bleak and all seems the lost the main character Saba remains determined.

7. The cover of The Hunger Games 

The colours and graphics are eye catching and relate to the book.


8. The cover of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I love the art work on this cover and the whimsical feel to it.


9. The cover of Poison Study 

The mix between photography and graphics on this cover work well together.


10. The cover of Wonderstruck 

I love the silver lettering and striking image on this cover. The electric blue in the sky really makes the book pop.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Individual Post on Film Study

For this individual post I will be comparing the protagonist from the novel The House of the Scorpion (Matt) and the film Gattaca (Vincent).

I was surprised by the amount of similarities I discovered between the two characters. The strongest connection I made between Matt and Vincent was that they were looked down upon by society and no matter how many times they showed they could do just as much as anyone else they were not treated equally. Throughout the novel The House of the Scorpion Matt proves through his lessons that he is incredibly smart yet he is never sent to school because, the other children would criticize him. In Gattaca Vincent trains very hard to be accepted into Gattaca however he never is because he did not have perfect genes. Another similarity between the two characters that I found was that they both had a defining force in their lives that helped them feel like they could be a part of society. For Vincent the defining force was an event, when he saved his brother from drowning it helped him realize he could be just as strong as a valid. For Matt the defining force was Tam Lin. Tam Lin actually treated Matt like a real person, which greatly helped him develop as a character and learn lessons that would be important later on in the novel such as how to climb rocks. Tam Lin also did not have any special ways of treating Matt and expected him to act like and person and not an animal. (“A human doesn’t run and hide, in dark places because he’s something more. (Farmer 138) One other similarity I identified was that the female leads looked past others opinions of the characters and loved them for who they were not what society thought. Finally another similarity that I discovered between the two characters was that they found a passion that helped them overcome the grasp of discrimination around them. For Matt this passion was music as it set him apart from El Patrons other clones and was a talent that made him feel unique. For Vincent the passion was space and his dream to be there helped him fight against genoisim. The main difference I noticed between the two characters was that Vincent's dream helped him have the bravery to break the law and go against what society was telling him. For Matt it was encouragement from other characters that supported him such as Maria and Tam Lin and the need to for him to leave Opium and the way he was discriminated there. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Individual Post on Real World Connections to The House of the Scorpion

Here is my individual post on a real world connection I made to the novel The House of the Scorpion.

   The real world connection that was the strongest for me from the The House of the Scorpion was comparing the situation the orphans in Aztlan were facing to that of children working in factories. I made this connection throughout Matt’s trip in Aztlan because in both situations youth were being taken advantage of by adults and were being treated horribly. Looking further into the horrors of child labor, here are some more connections I was able to make. I discovered that 73 million children working in factories are under ten years old. This fact made me connect with Fidelito since he was eight and is expected to do as much work as the older kids in order to have  enough food to eat. I also learned that by definition child labor is a child participating in work that is harmful for them physically or mentally this made me connect how the children in Aztlan are forced to do what the keepers tell them to do or else they will be beaten which harmed them physically. I also discovered that 4 out of 5 children working in factories are working without pay. In Atzlan the children worked only for food and for the "good of the people." I think Farmer used Matt’s situation in The House of the Scorpion as a way to spread knowledge about issues in our world by using events occurring today and when she wrote the novel in 2002. Allowing readers to form a deeper connection with characters in the novel and connect more with what is occurring in the novel. I think Farmer chose powerful subject matter such as child labor and drugs to impact the reader and keep them thinking about the book even after they have read it. After I read about the orphanage it really struck me how wrong the situation was. That is why I chose to write about it and the connections I made to it during my research. This made me connect to the phrase YOU ARE THE CHANGE.

information from: "Facts about child labour." Unicef: New Zeland. UNICEF, Web. May 2013

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Individual Post on the Narrative Structure of The House of the Scorpion

Here is my individaul post I created regarding the narrative structure within the novel The House of the Scorpion.

   I think The House of the Scorpion followed a typical narrative structure that you would find in most novels. The book consisted mainly of rising action with very little detail during the falling action or resolution. One thing that I thought was unique about the structure of The House of the Scorpion was how the end of the book changed so drastically from the rest of the novel. I thought it was very risky of Nancy Farmer to do so as it may leave readers confused or  disappointed by why all the characters changed, however I thought she pulled it off by introducing interesting new characters and letting the reader see a different side of Matt where he is viewed as human by everyone. She did a good job tying both of Matt’s lives together.  This was also an interesting choice because she had to introduce Matt’s second life and in order to do so she had to write another mini exposition about the situation he was in. Creating a very unique structure to the novel. If there was one thing I could have changed about the narrative structure of The House of the Scorpion I would have created a longer resolution/falling action as Nancy Farmer left me with a lot of questions and the ending itself seemed very abrupt and everything took place much to quickly. I would have liked to have more detail about Tam Lin’s motives and how the survivors felt about the event that occurred. (“Sometimes Mr. Ortega would burst in with an opinion.” Farmer 273). I often found myself wondering what his or anyone else’s opinion was. I think the main mini climax occurred when El Patron had the heart attack at the wedding and Matt realized his true purpose. I think the actual climax of the novel occurred when the keepers found the orphans and the convent. I think Farmer’s use of high points of tension or mini climaxes throughout the novel really drove the narrative forward an example of one of these was when Matt was taken away from the hospital after he was cleared for transplant (“The bodyguards, keeping a tight hold on Matt’s arms, led him down the hall,” Farmer 231).  Without this tension and suspense the rising action and exposition would seem to detailed causing readers to lose interest in the novel.  

Third Litspiration Challenge

We have created and uploaded our third litspiration challenge regarding The House of the Scorpion novel study. It is a litspiration challenge about the theme of the novel to view it click here.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Fifth Group Discussion

My group and I have posted our fifth post regarding The House of the Scorpion novel study. It is a round table discussion about the young adult section of the novel. If you would like to listen to it click this: http://joeldanieldanikakirstenjami.blogspot.ca

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Individual Post on the Theme of The House of the Scorpion

   I think the main theme of The House of the Scorpion is that no matter what others think they cannot tell you your self worth. I believe this is the theme because throughout the novel Matt is told he is a beast and does not belong in this world. (“This does not belong here!” the priest thundered. Farmer 152). Matt is not the only character in this situation, throughout the novel people also try to manipulate Maria into changing however she stubbornly clung onto what she believed and throughout the book her fight for what is right only became harder as she and Matt discovered more secrets about Opium. Evidence of this is when he sees the eejit dead in the field and learns the truth about how opium is grown and harvested. I believe Tam Lin is put in a similar situation as throughout the novel he struggles with a weighty conscious and others may not tell him what he can and can’t do he was always under a moral struggle (“No, I’m talking about moral consequences.” Farmer 244). I also think the main theme develops throughout the book just as the protagonist and round characters do. For example when Matt goes to the orphanage he is thrilled to actually be treated like a human by everyone and even though he is there for a short time he developed a lot in those few chapters really illustrating the point that when the weight of being judged harshly from all sides is lifted it truly helped the characters change. Matt was not the only one that when through major changes in the last few chapters I think without constantly being judged by Mr. Alacran really helped her gain confidence and find out what she truly wanted.  I think a sub-theme of the novel is that even if you are hated by most some one will look past your imperfections and love you. I believe it is a sub-theme of the book because almost everyone at the estate hates or ignores him however he is truly loved by Celia, Maria and Tam Lin who help him face the cruelty of the life he was given and give him hope and guidance throughout the novel.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Sixth Group Discussion

My group and I have posted our sixth post regarding The House of the Scorpion novel study. It is a round table discussion about the theme of the novel. If you would like to listen to it click this: http://joeldanieldanikakirstenjami.blogspot.ca

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Individual Post on the Characterization of The House of the Scorpion

Here is a post I created based of my thoughts regarding the characterization of The House of the Scorpion.

What I thought was most interesting about the characterization in The House of the Scorpion was how quickly characters developed in between two chapters. From chapter to chapter they often would have a different output or view on a certain situation. The characters that I thought exhibited this the most were Maria and Matt. In a way this was interesting to see what situations would cause them to develop from chapter to chapter but in a way it was also a bit rushed and confusing. I often found myself wondering how could they change so much. I think it may have been because there is about a years worth of time in every chapter. I think it would have made the novel easier to read if the passage of time was more obvious such as displaying Matt’s actual age at the beginning of each chapter. I think that all the characters in the novel had really good contrast with each other such as El Patrons greed and Celia’s giving nature. I thought that Farmer juggled the amount of characters included in the novel well especially regarding foil characters that brought out the good and bad in others to help you see their true colours. An example of this is how sweet Tom acted around Maria but when he was around Matt he became an unnatural little weevil. One other part of the characterization of The House of the Scorpion that I thought really enhanced the narrative and drew the reader’s attention in was the amount of metaphors used to describe character or humanity in general. (“When he was young he made a choice, like a tree does when it decides to grow one way or the other. He (El Patron) grew large and green until he shadowed over the whole forest, but most of his branches are twisted.” Farmer 70) One question I had about the characterization of the novel was how were those that were not eejits in Opium living? Were they rich or poor? From this I also wondered how much of the population had been turned into eejits questioning if only the rich and powerful remained unaltered or if there was a middle class in this society?