The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer Raidah Chowdhury
About the Author • She was born in 1941 in Phoenix • Honors she has received: National Book Award forThe House of the Scorpion and Newbery Honors for The Ear, the Eye and The Arm,A Girl Named Disaster,and The House of the Scorpion. • She has written eight novels, three picture books and a number of short stories • Nancy started writing when she was 40 and was inspired after reading a novel
Setting • It is set in the future • There are multiple settings: • United States • Aztlan (used to be called Mexico) • Plankton Factory (San Luis) • The main setting is the Opium (located in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona). Chiricahua Mountains
Characters • Matt- one of the eight clones of El Patrón (the ruler of Opium) and was harvested inside a cow. He was imprisoned in a small room with barred windows and chicken flooring. Matt is rescued by El Patrón, but only for selfish reasons • El Patrón- his real name is Matteo Alacrán. He is a very powerful drug lord. He has lived for 148 years by harvesting organs from other clones of himself. Matt was cloned from him. • Maria- Matt’s only friend during his stay at the Alacrán house.
Plot Matt is a clone of El Patron who intends to take Matt's organs when his own organs fail. Matt is treated cruelly by most of the Alacráns and is kept ignorant that he is a clone until a cruel joke reveals his status. After a near-fatal heart attack, El Patrón requires a transplant from Matt, but is foiled by Celia, Matt's care-giver. El Patrón dies. Matt tries to escape the mansion in the ensuing chaos with the help of María, a young member of the Mendoza family, but the plan fails and María is taken away. He tries to escape again, this time successfully. Arriving in Aztlán, Matt comes across colony for orphans. Matt is sent to live with them by a group of men known as the "Keepers". The Keepers operate the plankton farms, forcing the orphans to work and live on plankton. Matt is at first an outcast because the other boys think he is a spoiled aristocrat. However, Matt becomes a hero when he defies the Keepers and leads the boys in a rebellion against them. Matt manages to find María and her mother, Esperanza. From Esperanza, Matt learns that Opium is in lock down. Only El Patrón's DNA can deactivate the border security. Matt manages to re-enter Opium, but only to learn that almost no one he knew is still alive. Matt then becomes the ruler of Opium. .
Conflict/Resolution • Matt vs. Society • Matt is trying to fit in with El Patron's family but is looked down upon because of what he is. • Matt vs. Himself • Matt goes through struggles as he develops and wonders why the world is so cruel and why he can't just be looked at as a normal kid. • Matt vs. Tom • Tom is an evil little boy who wants Maria to hang out with him rather than Matt. Matt hates Tom because he makes Matt look bad in front of Maria and accuses Matt of horrible things that he actually did. So they are both fighting for Maria's attention. • Resolution:
Theme • The theme is importance/value of human life • no matter what the person is made of, where they come from, or what they are destined to do, they all have feelings and you cannot disregard them. • This theme best represents the story because it explains how Matt is treated horribly because he is a clone. Only Maria treated him well because she believes that you should treat others the way you want to be treated
Personal Book Review I really liked the book The House of the Scorpion. It is filled with excitement and action. The action isn’t very gruesome, which I liked. This novel is very fast-paced and filled with energy. It also has a well placed suspense, leaving you hanging at times. Overall, this book is well written. I would definitely recommend this book to a mature audience.