Thursday, 14 December 2017

Meet Pascal.

In my book, the main character is Pascal.

   Pascal is a young boy who lives a somewhat average life. He does chores, like milking the cow, cleaning his room and other things a young boy in his position would do. His family is very religious as they go to church, pray before dinner and thank the lord for their blessing "God is good, he's blessed us. We should pray. To give him thanks... Father, we thank you for your mercy and your generosity."(Roy p.35).  Pascal doesn't realize really why they go to church, he just finds it to be a good way to spend his Saturday afternoon "Mass was joyful. Joyous. A celebration." (Roy p.40).

   The setting of this book seems as if it is Africa or more of a third world society. The book mentions a problem with cockroaches in their house "Pascal had seen a few cockroaches wandering about" (Roy p.23). Not only that, it mentions people having to go to town to fetch water "He didn't want to imagine his brothers and sisters walking all the way down to the main pump just to get water to wash their faces in. Water to drink."(Roy p.15).

   As I have only read 45 pages of the book, I still do not feel very confident when I'm identifying where the setting is. I look forward to finding more specific evidence in the book and learning more about the main character, Pascal.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Why I Chose One Thousand Hills

My Reading and writing schedule:
December 7th
December 8th
December 9th
December 10th
December 11th
Read 20 pages
Read 20 pages
Read 5 pages
Work on 1st blog post
Edit and review first blog post
Read 20 pages

December 12th
December 13th
December 14th
December 15th
December 16th
Read 20 pages
Read 5 pages
Work on 2nd blog post
Review and edit 2nd blog post
Read 20 pages
Read 20 pages

December 17th
December 18th
December 19th
December 20th
December 21st
Read 5 pages
Work on 3rd blog post
Edit and review 3rd blog post
Read 20 pages
Read 20 pages
Read 5 pages
Work on 4th blog post.
December 22nd
December 23rd
December 24th
December 25th
December 26th
Edit and review 4th blog post
Read 20 pages
Read 20 pages
Off day
Read 9 pages

December 27th
December 28th
December 29th
December 30th
December 31st
Work on 5th blog post
Finish blog post #5
Off day
Off day
Off day

January 1st
January 2nd
January 3rd
January 4th
January 5th
Off day
Make sure there are no mistakes

The book that I chose is called One Thousand Hills. I chose this book because this book is about children going to war. The fact that some children actually went to war when they were only around 9 scares me. Even if they were not killed, they would have terrible memories that would really mess them up in the long run. This book was also recommended to the class by Ms. Veteikis. Lastly, I want to learn how this issue was resolved in this book, and what happens to the characters.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Comparing Matt and Vincent

Vincent and Matt have many similarities, but they also have many differences. Also, the choices that Matt and Vincent have made affect their future in many different ways. I am going to compare how Matt and Vincent are developed, different and the actions they take.

   Throughout the movie, Vincent was viewed as a “lesser” to others. This is because he had a high chance of heart failure, a much lower life expectancy and he didn’t have the “superior” body that other, more gifted people had. This didn’t allow him to pursue his dream of being an astronaut. Matt has similar problems throughout The House of the Scorpion. Since he is a clone and is being used for spare parts, he is not viewed as an active member of society to most. This would make it much harder for him to fulfill his dreams of being the leader of opium like El Patron before him. Through hard work and determination, both Vincent and Matt had accomplished their dreams.

  Matt and Vincent had taken very similar actions, and many different actions to fulfill their dreams and potential. They both faked their identities to get a better life. However, they did it in different ways. Jerome gave Vincent urine, hair, and blood samples. Matt just lied about his name and his path because nobody there knew him, and they would believe anything he said. Vincent “disappeared” when he started changing his identity, nobody knew if he was alive or dead. His parents died thinking they had outlived him. With Matt, however, people helped him escape such as Tam Lin and Celia. People knew he was alive. People knew that matt had potential being a clone of the most powerful man in opium. This was different for Vincent, having a life expectancy of 30 years and having a very high chance of heart failure, nobody believed in him. This is why no one helped him accomplish his dreams.

Matt and Vincent were similar and different in many ways, the very important decisions they made in the circumstance made their future and dreams more realistic. The importance of the decision made in each circumstance was very crucial. Both Matt and Vincent were very bright men, but Matt was a bit more careless when it came crucial moments in the book; when they found the tattoo on his foot. Vincent was much more careful while in moments of high stress and pressure. This aided Vincent in flying to Titan, Saturn’s 14th moon.

Lucas M.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Individual Blog Post #5

Today, many people are fleeing their country on small boats for months to get a better life in another country. This happens all around the world, in Syria, America, Mexico and much more. This is a huge problem regarding human equity. These people are feeling so much danger, that they risk their life to escape from it.

  We see people trying to flee from their country a lot on the news. In 2017 (so far), we have already received 40,081 refugees.  The number of refugees is a problem, but what’s a bigger problem is people aren’t allowed in some countries because of where they are from. We are forcing these people out to where they have a chance at death. We need to look at their criminal record and if it is clean, we will let them in the country. All people are people and they deserve a chance.

  The definition of a human trafficker is “a person who is engaged in the illegal transportation of people or a person from one country or area to another”. Although it is usually criminal activity, sometimes their intentions aren’t all that bad. If someone has been threatened or escaped from danger, they deserve a place where they can feel safe, usually in another country. The fact that people that are from a country or have a connection to a country aren't allowed to be someplace, hurts me. This happens even if they’ve lived there for years.  This is happening to many American citizens today. People are not allowed to come back into America because of their ties to a certain country or area. Maybe if we allowed people back into a country when we know they’re not going to do anything bad, the number of human traffickers would be reduced by a lot. You see this in the book when Matt is trying to get into Áztlan. Although they don’t know anything about Matt, they should allow a harmless young man into the country. Although he made it, he went through a very difficult time to get there. 

  In this book, there is a lot of connection to the real world. Matt undergoes many challenges throughout this book that will drive the narrative and make this book more enjoyable. How he will overcome these challenges will show his character. I am looking forward to seeing the ending of this book.

  Lucas M.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

What are the Most Influential Elements of Worldview to Matt?

  Matt has been influenced by many elements of worldview in the course of this book so far. But for today’s blog post, I will be focusing on the two I think he was affected by the most. Equality with others and view of the good life.

  I found equality with others to be one of the most influential to Matt because he is a clone. Since he is a clone and El Patron has seven, he is not viewed as very important. He is also not allowed in some churches because “he doesn’t have a soul”. During the course of the book, Matt was trying to find the purpose of his life. This was a mystery until we figured out he was being used for a heart transplant, “Matt owes you nothing, and he’s going to pay you nothing. You can’t use him for transplants” (p. 235). Matt would’ve been turned into an eejit if he weren’t El Patron's clone, and since he was El Patron’s clone he thought he would grow up and be the “leader” of Opium. Matt is not allowed in various places because he is a clone, people do not view him as equal to them and that is why he is affected the most by equality with others.

  Over the first 259 pages, Matt learns a lot about what America looks like and how “perfect” it is. He learns how Celia was caught with a group of other immigrants trying to escape to America. That was Celia’s “view of the good life”. However, Matt had a different view of the good life. He was to grow up, be a very important man like El Patron and run Opium. All of this changed when Matt realized that he was only brought into this world for his heart. Matt then knew that to not be “disposed of”, he needed to escape to Áztlan. With Tam Lin’s help, he knew how to make it across the border safely. His view of the good life went from almost guaranteed, to not possible.

  Matt’s struggles will continue to drive the narrative forward. I am looking forward to how Matt fits in with the more technologically advanced society that Áztlan is.

Lucas M.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

What is Education? And How Might Someone "Get Educated"?

What is education and how do people learn about their world? In what ways can someone “get educated?” What is education and how do people learn about their world? In what ways can someone “get educated?” What is education and how do people learn about their world? In what ways can someone “get educated?”  
There are three main ways someone can get “educated”.  Travelling, learning from elders, and reading literature are all ways to learn. If we didn’t have these three sources, there would almost be nothing to learn from. You can use what you’ve learned from these sources anywhere and anytime.

Travelling is a great form of experiential learning. You can learn worldviews of that area, the history, various types of architecture and much more. Travelling can be one of the most beneficial ways to learn. Many of today’s great cities were built on inspiration from other places. Travelers were inspired by the architecture of one place, and shared the information to their homeland. If we were isolated to only one place, our society wouldn’t be as technically advanced. In our history, we have learned and improved on many inventions. All of us have benefited from travelling at some point in our life.

 Over the course of our lives, we benefit and learn from elders greatly. As a young child you learn mostly from your parents. Manners, athletics, work ethic, and other lessons are all learnt from our parents. Without teachers there would be no school, which for some kids may sound like a good thing but it’s not. Teachers will teach you the basics of math, to the way the world works. Tam Lin is like a mentor to Matt, he’s with him most of the time and he teaches him what to do under difficult circumstances. But most importantly he leaves Matt with a very important message, “I always say the truth is the best even when we find it unpleasant. Any rat in a sewer can lie. It’s how rats are. It’s what makes them rats. But a human doesn’t run and hide in dark places, because he’s something more. Lying is the most personal act of cowardice there is (p. 135).

  We can benefit from reading literature in many ways: expanding our vocabulary, learning what the book is trying to teach us, and the importance of a certain concept. When Matt reads “A History of Opium”, he learns many things that he didn’t know before. He learned the history of Opium, where the country is, how old it is, but most importantly that El Patron had the same name as him. Matt found out how Opium was created: by an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, and the drug lords. El Patron (Matteo Alacrán) formed an alliance with other drug dealers and approached the leaders of the U.S. and they said; “You have two problems. First, you cannot control your borders, and second, you cannot control us” (p. 169).

 Without these three sources of experience, Matteo wouldn’t be as well educated as he is now, but more importantly he wouldn’t understand the importance of his life.

Lucas M.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The House of the Scorpion Pages 1-100

I have enjoyed this book a lot, I don't read very much on my own time or at all unless I am forced to as a school project. This book will encourage me to read the whole series and progress my level of reading.

  However, I don't agree with some of the things that Nancy Farmer decided to put in the book. For instance, why did we meet El Patron so late in the book if everything revolves around him? Why doesn’t Matt fit in if he’s a clone of one of the most powerful men in Opium?

  We met El Patron very late in the book, although we heard a lot about him in the earlier pages of the book. I am bothered by this because if someone has a big role in a book he should be one of the first characters introduced not the last. El Patron also has a clone named Matt, I don’t understand why he could “suddenly” talk. He only started being able to talk at age six where usually you are able to talk at 3 or even 2. Also, a clone is supposed to be an exact replica of something. Did El Patron suddenly start talking? Did he only start talking when he was six? 

  I have a lot of unanswered questions in my head about El Patron. I think that either Nancy Farmer or the editors need to add more specific characterization about El Patron. Also, since we don’t know much about El Patron we can’t make specific or any connections between him and Matt.

  I think the main theme of this book is the significance of circumstance. Circumstance is a concept emphasized by the relationship between El Patron and Matt. El Patron is viewed as powerful and "evil" probably due to his traumatizing childhood. While Matt has shared similar experiences (Rosa's prison) he overcomes struggle through his friends and family.

  In conclusion, this being one of the first “major” books I read, I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. My one concern is how El Patron is not characterized very well in this book, we don’t hear much of him until the later stages of the book. This makes it harder for me to understand how El Patron relates to Matt and the other characters.

Lucas M.