Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Barbarian Nurseries: Scott Torres

My English 103 classes at Fullerton College are currently reading the novel The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar.  This book is part of a program called One Book, One City, sponsored by the Fullerton Public Library and Fullerton College, in which lots of people across Fullerton are (hopefully) reading this contemporary novel, which is set in Orange County and Los Angeles.  Today, as part of our discussion, I asked my students to write about one character in the novel.  I chose to write about the character Scott Torres.  Here's what I wrote, and hopefully it will intrigue you enough to read the novel:

Scott is a well-off young man who has a family and lives in a gated community of South Orange County.  In the wake of the mortgage crisis, his assets are dwindling, so much so that he had to fire his gardener.  At the beginning of the story, he is doing his own gardening, struggling with a lawnmower.

Scott's father is Mexican-American, and Scott came from a humble middle-class background in Whittier.  He became wealthy at a tech company he co-founded called Mind Ware.  As a younger man, Scott felt hopeful about his prospects as a tech tycoon, but now he works for a company in Irvine that is a defense contractor specializing in digital surveillance, basically spying on people at airports, and encouraging its operators to racially profile Arabs as "Turban Man."

I think Scott is depressed because he has lost the fire of his youth.  He was a rising star of tech innovation, and now he's basically spying on people for the government.  He feels bummed.  He is, I think, approaching some kind of a breakdown.


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