Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Constitutes Human?

We have yet another work that begs the question, what is it to be human? In our previous texts we've dealt with this question multiple times, with more confusion than actual conclusions. After all, it is Science Fiction, so how can we say what is and isn't real?
In The House of the Scorpion, Matt is a clone. Tissue was taken from El Patron, a drug lord on the border of the USA and Aztlan (Mexico), and an attempt was made to craft true, intelligent clones of the man. Only one survived...Matt. Even though he's a clone of a powerful man, who demands that the boy be treated with the utmost care, he is more often referred to as a beast or animal than he is a boy. Yet he is more intelligent, skilled, talented, and empathetic than those who see him as less than human.
There are striking parallels to be drawn with Frankenstein's creature, Oankali ooloi genetically manipulated offspring, replicants in Blade Runner, and even the cybernetically modified animals in We3. Shelley's creature seems a brute and a monster because of the actions he takes in having his revenge on Victor, yet he feels emotional anguish at his abondonment that drives him to commit these vile acts. In Adulthood Rites, Akin is the first "human born" male that the Oankali allow to be "made". If not for his near perfect human appearance before his metamorphosis, he would have been unable to convince the human resisters to ever consider the colonization of Mars. His empathy for the humans' plight makes him the most human character in the novel.
The question of what it means to be human has been a central theme in almost every text we've covered this semester. So it should come as no surprise that The House of the Scorpion is no different.

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