The Life of a Clone

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Who is Matt?

Matteo Alacrán is an outcast in El Patrón's world. Nobody wants to socialize with a clone, so they ignore him all together. Once El Patrón dies, Matt runs away and tries to fit in. Matt realizes that outside El Patrón's world, people are different. What Matt thought was the right opinion, is actually the opposite of what everyone believes. He has to find out who he really is, not who he grew up learning to be.

Literary Devices

Nancy Farmer uses many different literary devices in The House of the Scorpion. One literary device Farmer uses is imagery. For example, "Creosote bushes and paloverde trees framed a small, narrow valley, and in the center of this was a pool of water" (79). The use of imagery makes the reader feel as though they are standing right next to Matt and the oasis. Furthermore, Farmer uses characterization to describe each character. these are just a few types if literary devices Farmer uses in The House of the Scorpion.

Literary Elements Further the Plot

Irony and setting are two literary elements that help advance the story. The unique setting sets the reader in a futuristic country called Opium, which is a section of poppy fields separating the Untied States and what was once called Mexico. The setting causes the reader to think about all aspects and details of the story. The irony in this book is that Matt believes El Patrón loves him like a father would a child, when in reality, El Patrón only loves the idea of Matt-- a perfect clone who can give him vital organs in the case that his fail (220). Irony helps the plot move by creating two different aspects that only the reader knows.

Praise or Pan?

This book is definitely a good read! It keeps the reader on the edge of their seat with suspense, curiosity, and action. I would recommend this to young adults and teens who are looking for an interesting adventure!

More by Nancy Farmer...

Nancy Farmer has written three Newbery-Honor books among her many published works. A few other books are:


The Lord of the Opium: Continuing The House of the Scorpion, this book tells the adventures of Matt becoming a Drug Lord and taking over El Patrón's land. He sets about to free the enslaved and to control his "El Patrón instincts." Matt chooses between doing the right thing and doing the easy thing. Will Matt accomplish anything in time? Or will other Lords take his land over?


The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm: When General Matsika’s children decide to go on a dangerous adventure to prove themselves worthy, they get lost, kidnapped, escape, held hostage, kidnapped again, and almost sacrificed. Can the hired detectives Ear, Eye, and Arm save the children? Can the kids find their way home?


The Sea of Trolls: Jack, a Bard's apprentice, is kidnapped by a group of ferocious vikings. He anticipates being sold into slavery, serving his kidnappers for the rest of his life, and most definitely not seeing his home ever again. What he doesn't expect is the enchanted adventure that he is taken on which leads him into the hearts of his abductors and to the roots of the world tree Yggdrasil.


A Girl Named Disaster: Nhamo, a Shona girl living in Mozambique in 1981, is left a slave in her village after her mother dies. When she discovers that she must marry a merciless man with three other wives, Nhamo resolves to run away. What was supposed to be a short boat trip to Zimbabwe turns into an experience filled with challenges and danger that lasts a year.