The House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer

Praising this inspiring tale

The House of the Scorpion is a very exciting read. According to Publishers Weekly, "readers will be hooked from the first page." You always want to know what is going to happen next, since the character goes through many conflicts throughout the story. Even after reading the first chapter, you are already hooked.

The story begins with how the protagonist, Matteo Alacron, also called Matt, is brought to life. However, he was not born like any other kid. Matt is a clone of El Patron, lord of Opium, and was harvested inside of a cow. After learning about this, the reader is already filled with so many questions such as "why had El Patron desired having a clone?" or "what was the point of him having a clone?" As the story continues, all the answers to their questions slowly start to come together.

Also, throughout the book, Matt comes across many difficult scenarios. During these parts, the reader wants to know how he is going to get through the situation. The reader is also curious about some of the characters. To find out who some of the characters really are and what their real traits are, you must pay close attention to them throughout the story and see how the main character's view on them begins to change.

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Matteo Alacran

The main character of the story, Matt Alacran, is faced with many tough situations. To start off, Matt was treated horrendously when he was first taken to the BIg House, which was where El Patron lived. Originally, Matt lived in a small house in the poppy fields with a woman named Celia, who was a cook at the Big House. When Matt arrived at the house, he was treated like any other person would be treated, until they saw the writing on his foot which stated "Property of the Alacran Estate". Then it was clear that he was a clone. For example, when Matt was being taken care of on one of the beds after being cut on his foot, it said "'You idiot! You need a vet for this little beast!' the man roared. 'How dare you defile this house?'"(Farmer 23). This showed how Matt was not looked at as a human being, but as an animal. Matt learned to deal with and appreciate what he was. He did not mind that he was called an animal because he learned how to accept it and embrace it.

With this being said, Matt happens to fall in love with Maria, Senator Mendoza's daughter. He too looked at Matt as if he was a creature. On El Patron's one hundred and forty third birthday, Matt insisted that Maria gave him a kiss. "'He's a clone!' Senator Mendoza cried" (Farmer 109). He did not approve of his daughter kissing an "animal". To Matt's luck, Maria had the same feelings for him. So, they met up privately to discuss what they had missed when they were apart.

Towards the end of the story, Matt realized what he was truly made for. He was a clone of El Patron so that when body parts of him began to fail, he could just transfer them from Matt's body to his. Matt had figured this out a while before El Patron had a heart attack, so when he heard the news, he ran and hid. For example, the narrator says "It didnt matter how intelligent he was. In the end, the only thing that mattered was how strong his heart was"(Farmer 216). This shows how the only thing El Patron cared about was that Matt was healthy enough so that he could just take his body parts when his failed. To deal with this situation, Matt escapes from the estate and runs off to cross the border.

Matteo Alacran Character Summary

A description of the story's protagonist, Matt Alacran

Theme

One of the major themes throughout the book is choice. This had a major impact on Matt's life. For example, an obvious choice in the beginning of the novel was El Patron's choice to create Matt. There is a positive and a negative side to this decision. On the positive side, Matt would not be there without El Patron. However, being a clone had a very negative effect of Matt's life. Being a clone made people look at him like he was a creature. Also, Matt was treated terribly when he first arrived at the Big House just because he was a clone. If El Patron had not made the choice to create Matt, he would have never had to go through any of that.

Another choice that was made throughout the book was Matt's decision to decide his own fate. For example, Matt did not want to grow up to be like his creator. Instead of having workers, also known as eejits, who are programmed to work, and only work, he decided that he was going to un-program them and return them home to their children.

Also, towards the middle of the story, Matt's body guard, Tam Lin, is taken away with El Patron. After Matt read his note, it said, "'You could have done something about it,' Matt whispered, 'You could have said no'" (Farmer 380). This shows how he had a choice on what he was going to do.

Setting

The setting of the story definitely had an impact on Matt's character. Before Matt was brought to the Big House, he lived in a little house in the middle of the poppy fields. While Matt stayed here, he had a normal life. For example, for all that he was concerned, he was a normal boy and had nothing to worry about. He lived with Celia who cared for him as if he was her own son. But after Matt was taken back to the big house by the children who lived there, Matt's life had truly changed.

Once Matt was there, he was treated like an animal. This is where Matt learned what he truly was. He was reminded constantly that he was not a human, but he was in fact a clone. If Matt was never taken to the Big House, he would have lived a normal life. For example, he would not have gotten mistreated and harassed. Also, he would not have been given false expectations. This means that Matt would not have been educated or entertained by El Patron. Because El Patron had done all of this for Matt, he believed that El Patron truly cared about him and loved him and was not just there for spare parts.

Another example is that when Matt was sent to the plankton factory, he was looked at differently than the others. He was called an "aristocrat" and was always asked to share his thoughts after discusion, which always got him in trouble. This differed from the estate because Matt was not frowned upon, no matter what he did or said.

In conclusion, when the setting had changed, so did Matt's life, which also effected his fate later on in the book.

House of the Scorpion Book Trailer

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