Thursday, 18 April 2013

Litspiration Challenge #1-Setting

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

This is my drawing of the lab. (Chapter one, pages 1-2) The passage that I used for inspiration was as follows: “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 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:
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: 

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. :)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Thoughts So Far (Youth 0-6)

      The novel begins with the creation of the main character (Matteo Alacrán) who began life in a lab. For the first years of his life Matt lived in a poppy field with his caretaker, Celia. Matt had never left the house until one day three children (Emilia, Steven and María) find him. With a strong desire to meet the children Matt breaks a window and escapes however in the process he cuts himself very badly on the glass. While at the big house Matt learns he is a clone and immediately despised by everyone except María. Matt is thrown into a cell where he creates a kingdom filled with treasures but he'll never leave the cell as the same person he went in as.

     I really enjoyed how Matt created a kingdom with all of his treasures. It made his prison seem not so bad and instead it was like he almost enjoyed himself despite being a prisoner. Underneath the sawdust--and he knew exactly where--were caches of nutshells, bones, fruit and gristle (Pages 45 and 46). It said that the bones were like his dolls and I think little descriptions like this make Matt's prison seem like less of a prison and more of home in some ways. I think if Matt were older and he was in prison (about 12 or so) it would been very different to read about because he would look at things differently than a six year old.

      I also noticed that there were a couple of places in the book where Matt and Celia talk about the Virgin of Guadalupe and how every night they light the holy candle. It's also mentioned that no matter how tired Celia is she never neglects their bedtime ritual. I think this gives an idea of their beliefs, how they grew up and what other people believe that live in the area.

      So these are some of the things that I didn't manage to talk about as much in our second round table discussion which can be found here. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts about the novel so far. :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

The House of the Scorpion

Dear Reader:
     For the third and final term of grade eight we'll be doing a novel study on House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer instead of book reviews, peer reviews, and vlogs. I'll eventually post one entry for the following literary elements:
    -Connections to the real world
    -Narrative structure
    -Film Study

Here's what I think: 
How do you feel about the new focus?
    I think a novel study is a good change from the lispiration we were doing before however I would be more excited if I knew more about what the book's about. I also really like how some parts will done in groups and others parts separately.

What are you most excited/nervous about?
    I'm excited to be able to work with 8.1 because there are new people and new ideas that come with new people. Like whenever I read a new book I'm excited to meet new characters and explore a new plot.

Here's the link to our House of the Scorpion blog: We'll be posting round table discussions of the novel and all lispiration challenges that we do.