House of The Scorpion
The Similar Concepts in Wunderkammer and the House of Scorpion
Shelley Jackson’s My Body – A Wunderkammer can be compared to one of my all time favorite books, Nancy Farmer’s The House of The Scorpion, by the sense of intimacy you get from Shelley Jackson and the main character Matteo Alcaran. Although many aspects of the two may be completely different House of The Scorpion was the first book to come to mind when thinking about Shelley Jackson’s style of writing. An overlook of the two next to each other would not really show much of a similarity from first glance, but after reading both the similarities in the two stories would become apparent.
The first real comparison between the two of would be that Shelley Jackson’s My Body – A Wunderkammer is set up in a hypertext format. On the other hand, Nancy Farmer’s The House of the Scorpion, is a novel. It is hard to compare the overall intimacy of the entire book with a hypertext set up with an abundance of short stories, but when looking at the two main characters it is easier to identify the same emotional vibe given off. Shelley Jackson uses the parts of the body to identify with her stories. Each and every body part brings a story of her past experiences that she connects with that part of the body. She connects with her body as reminders of her past. Matteo Alcaran on the other hand is a clone. Matteo is locked off from the outside world in a sense that he lives with a woman named Celia on a large piece of land filled with Poppy fields. In contrast to Shelley Jackson, Matteo has no recollection or ability to remember his original back-story. Matteo is left without any connection to anything except the home he lived in for the majority of his young life and Celia. He does not have the association of anything to his childhood memories such as Shelley Jackson’s: remembrance of her ability to do the most chin ups, the scrutiny she put herself under for her build of her shoulders, or how her fingernails were no comparison in prettiness to the other girls in school.
What I find to be interesting about Nancy Farmer’s The House of The Scorpion is that Matteo Alcaran is a clone of a drug-lord who is one hundred and forty-eight years old. He is the exact same genetically as the drug-lord, El Patron. El Patron eventually has him come live in his mansion and take classes and do other activities. Going out on a long stretch, I’d compare El Patron’s care and activities that he provides to Matteo to be much like El Patron reliving his childhood. El patron’s use of Matteo is in a way a living story of the past. Matteo is much like Shelley Jackson’s body parts that remind her of her past experiences. Matteo is used in the same way more than likely in an indirect way because he is farming organs. Nancy Farmer doesn’t make this comparison of Matteo living out life as El Patron did, but in my mind it would be like thinking about my past experiences in life and watching a clone of myself live out these experiences or stories that were in my memory. This whole scenario would be like a déjà vu moment over and over again.
Comparing the two pieces of literature by readability, the first thing that really is interesting is that they are both very easy and attention grabbing pieces to read. I have never been much of a reader, but it is almost interesting to read Shelley Jackson’s stories because she almost writes them like a diary or journal, which everyone is always interested in reading someone else’s diary. She has this great way of connecting with her body no matter if it is a negative connection or a positive one. The fact that it is a very personal entry or little story draws you in and makes you want to read more about her experiences. I think that it was said well on one of the discussion board posts that, “She went all the way in describing every part from head to toe, using strong and meaningful words, describing the body like I never read before (Rasha Bah DB POST).” Shelley Jackson has this deep connection to her body unlike any that I have ever felt. She brings this thought provoking aroma to your mind. The House of The Scorpion is like Shelley Jackson’s My Body – A Wunderkammer in the fact that you feel a strong connection with the main character. The connection draws you to read more and more. With Matteo Alcaran the strong piece that draws you in is his struggle for his life. He is placed on Earth to live for another man. You almost are routing for him to make it. Shelley Jackson makes you, in a way, feel the same because you want her to get past these hardships she has endured in the past. She makes the stories feel real and you want to sympathize and hope she gets over it all even though it is a past experience.
The biggest contrast of these two stories, which I briefly mentioned, is that Shelley Jackson has all of these experiences to connect her body parts to her past. She has had a life in which she got to experience things that so many people have to go through in their life. She got to go to school and make friends. In her story about her skin she writes, “There was one good thing about the uncomfortable plastic chairs I sat in all through grade school: if I rubbed my arm against the back of the chair on a dry day, I got a funny feeling as if there were a layer of warm felt between my skin and the plastic. If I held my arm the right distance away, every hair stretched straight out toward the plastic (Shelley Jackson).” This goes to show that no matter what it was on her body and no matter how odd, she was able to associate her past with her body parts. The character Matteo Alcaran has no ability to associate his life to anything other than a small house on a large piece of land due to the fact that he was not able to leave the house. I think that this association to an object or body part also reminds us of the blessings bestowed upon us to live our life and experience things freely.
In conclusion I think that the two of these pieces of literature are written in a very fluent way that draws the reader in. The largest contrast of these two is that one is a hypertext and the other is a paper back novel. I think that Robert Hoover said it well when he wrote, “Which would mean of course that the novel, too, as we know it, has come to its end. Not that those announcing its demise are grieving (Robert Coover).” The use of books may be in a time where extinction is near, but a book such as The House of The Scorpion allows me to actually enjoy the imaginative ability I have with a paperback in my hand. Shelley Jackson’s My Body – A Wunderkammer allows me to experience the advance in to hypertext, while also enjoying what she has to say. The two may never be compared again, but both bring a sense of intimacy to the reader that grabs you and brings you to read on and on until you are finished.
El Patron: a Main Character in House of the Scorpion
The Novel The House of the Scorpion takes place far into the future, although they do not mention the time of the story you can probably guess its time period by details throughout the book like: hoverboards going through the sky, the cloning of people inside of cows, and a futuristic society with mind controlled people and animals called eejits with cameras everywhere.The purpose of the book is to show that crime does not pay since one the main characters has clones of himself and treats them like animals to extend his life. This works in this society since the powerful man El Patron can use the organs of his clones to live longer. He also takes good care of his clones sometimes for selfish reasons and he already is above one hundred and eighty years old.
Many characters throughout the story were controlled by El Patron even though they weren’t clones and others were affected but not controlled as much as others.The purpose of the story that I think that the author is trying to show is that crime does not pay. This can be seen throughout the story, Mainly when El Patron’s clone Matt is mistreated. Matt is kept in a room filled with litter and all the garbage and waste is just under it, many critters like mice and bugs made their home in the litter as well. This does not last long however, he is removed from this place and treated like a king for being El Patron’s clone. He probably was treated like this because he would come in useful for his organs later. Matt was very lucky to be El Patron’s clone because those clones that are not of his are injected with something that kills them when they turn fourteen. Matt figured this out when he was in a hospital and heard loud scream and his bodyguard told him to ignore it but he resisted and saw another clone in its last moments. During all of this matt has a friend named Maria and someone who takes care of him named Celia, after finding out about Matt being a clone and looking at the clone getting strapped Celia explained to Matt why he is safe but Maria avoided him for a long time in shock.
Later into the book El Patron asked Matt for his heart, and his caretaker Celia refused to give it up and explained to El Patron he doesn’t need it. El Patron was pronounced dead because of a heart attack. El Patron’s caretakers decided there was no use for Matt anymore and he should just be killed. Matt has so many near death experiences that you might think the author is really repetitive and the same person saves him multiple times as well.Tam lin, El patron’s bodyguard pretends like he will kill him but he helps him escape across a border without letting El Patron’s other men find out. Celia who is matt’s caretaker is pretending to be an eejit and will be kept safe for as long as possible. Matt escapes and makes new friends and plans on going back and taking everything that belongs to him with them. I believe that the author was successful at showing that crime does not pay since, El Patron dies unexpectedly because Matt doesn’t give up his heart and leaves all of his riches behind but Matt escapes and is free.
Characteristic of Matt in House of the Scorpion
Danika d 8-2
To me identity is permanent, and it can be expressed in many different ways. Your identity is made up of experience, adventurous and part of your identity is your personality. In this essay, I’m going to explain Matts identity, how he’s different from others, what people think of him, how his identity is the way it is and more. Matts identity does not change drastically through the book. To feel like you belong or to have unique features that make you, you. Our life experiences teach us that when we stop trying to belong, we realize that we’ve always belonged.
Matt had never really understood why he was different, everyone would say that he was different “A Clone” and that clones were not like humans that they had no spirit and they had disappeared after they died, they were made for transplants but Matt has the chance to be a human and experience being a human,but the thing is Matt was a human before so he shares identical DNA as someone, maybe he was created to have a few years of life to make his heart strong for transplants, but Matt had the support of Celia to stand up for him she did it in the only way possible making Matt sick but only sick enough to stop the transplant. Matt has the same DNA as El Patron but that doesn’t mean they have the same identity they don’t have the same personality they share some characteristics but not much is the same. In my opinion, Matt is no less than and human the only thing that sets humans and mat is the tattoo that on his foot, that really is not enough to be judging him that much. The reason that Matt is treated unfairly is that they see him as a monster his real friends really don’t see him as a clone they see him as a human. If clones are accepted in this society then why is Matt still being judged and bullied?
When Matt had lived in the poppy fields Matt had a totally different life. This old life started with Matt trying to communicate and make friends, that’s when he ’s brought to the big house when everyone found out that Matt was a clone it changes everything, this created conflict between Rosa and Matt. His self-confidence has gone because he does not know what it means to be a clone or even why they think Matt would do some terrible things. Throughout the months treated like a pig, Matt had been traumatized, which made him stronger. When Matt had escaped opium to Aztlán. There had been no change when they found out he was a clone, Jorge, through Matt and Chacho into the boneyard witch really had an effect on Matt because he thought the Chacho was dead,matt had some warrior scars from that night.
Matt has been different than the other clones from the beginning. He’s different from El Patron’s past clones he has used, or just an ordinary clone. The author made the description of other clones brief. We do know that clones are injected with a brain destruction liquid, I’m not totally sure the reason they do this. Matt got a chance to live in the house, not the pig pen. With the help of El Patron, Matt got to experience living as a child he got the drama, emotion, he even had an education maybe it wasn’t like the other children’s education, this experience has helped shape Matts identity. He had been different from other clones that El Patron had made because he had the musical ability had Tam Lin to take him to do opportunities that no other child would get, an example of this activities is the oasis. Matt also had the support of Tam Lin and Celia, they had been like his parents, Tam Lin warned Matt about the lotus pound how it would Matt sick, but Matt just had to try it on his own. I think Celia and Tam Lin both have an important role in Matts identity because Celia is all ways for him and tells stories about her time with El Patron. but I think that Tam Lin plays a bigger role in finding his identity by taking him to dangerous places and making him start a new life without the clone aspect. When Matt saw some of the el patron’s actions/mistakes this made Matt afraid of El patron and what he was capable of. Matt trying to follow in El patron’s footsteps doesn’t go well for Matt because he is not a selfish person like El Patron. Which has also helped shape Matts identity? I think that Tam lin identity has much more imagination than all the characters, there is also a lot of adventure. Tam Lin had been El Patron’s bodyguard for many years, he had known every secret passageway every secret, El Patron had to trust Tam Lin because he was so old he would forget. Celia had stood up to El Patron in the operation room, just before Matt was going to give El Patron transplants. Matt had got in tons of mistakes following El Patron’s steps. All of Matt’s mistakes have shaped his identity and personality.
In this case, Matt had found out that he is now considered a human, by Esperanza. When El Patron had died Matt had taken his place at the Arclan Estate, not just that he took a new identity but he had not changed his personality, Matt had been El Patron at the end of the day, the fact that he was a clone change with El Patron’s death. But the way Matt sees there world is much different from El Patron’s view. Matt and El Patron have many differences, there are few similarities. In the house of the scorpion Matt, wanted to reverse the surgery on the eejits and reunite them with their families. Matts identity does not change drastically through the book.be your own have your own identity, personality, thoughts and you will be the best person there. With the help of support, Matt had learned who he was and why he was like that. To feel like you belong or to have unique features that make you, you. Our life experiences teach us that when we stop trying to belong, we realize that we’ve always belonged.