The House of the Scorpion: THEME
Written By: Heather Ngo
Novel By: Nancy Farmer
The theme of The House of the Scorpion is the difficulties and hardships an individual must overcome to develop and grow; internally and physically.
Throughout the novel we see that Matt is faced with both hardships and obstacles. Matt has one central obstacle that courses through the entire novel and blocks his every move; this being a clone. In the society that Matt lives in they strongly and firmly attests the production of clones and believe that they are "beast" (Farmer, 34) and "monsters" (Farmer, 44).
Over the years that Matt had been staying at the Alacran Estate, he had to endure the taunts and the words that hit like gunshots. Everything from "pig"(Farmer, 104), "beast" (Farmer, 37), monster (Farmer, 44), and "evil-tempered animal" (Farmer, 43) was used to describe Matt, yet this fuelled him to do the impossible and leap out of the grasps of the antagonist, El Patron. Matt has certainly faced much more than any average kid should however we should never forget the loyalty of Matt's loved ones and friends. Tam Lin, Celia, and Maria were able to lend him a shoulder whenever he needed it and also prepared him for success throughout the story.
On a smaller scale, this pushed Matt to prove himself worthy and better himself in every way possible, whether it being educational or simply hobby based. Farmer was not only able to spread this universal truth to her readers by using the protagonist but she was also able to do so using the other characters in the novel such as El Patron.
When El Patron was young, he was struck with the reality of being poor and was isolated in a small, poor town called Durango. Durango as El Patron has described it, had a "stream that roared with water two months of the year and was as dry as a bone the rest of the time." (Farmer, 58). "[He] was poor [to the point] that [he] didn't have two pesos to rub together" (Farmer, 101). On top of that all, El Patron lost his family at an early age."My little sisters caught typhoid at that feast. The died in the same hour. They were so small, they couldn't look over the windowsill -- no, not even if they stood on tiptoe. During the following years each of my five brothers died; two drowned, one had a burst appendix, and we had no money for the doctor. The last two brothers were beaten to death by the police. There were eight of us, and only I lived to grow up." (Farmer, 101) We see that El Patron was faced with a lot of hardships and burdens from a young age however by pushing through it all, he was able to achieve his dream and became a power drug lord in Opium. Although his devastating past still haunts him today, he is able to overcome those "obstacles" that held him back and is still able to persevere towards a better future for himself. "He was as skinny as a coyote , with not even two pesos to rub together, but he was filled with a burning desire to survive." -Matt's Thoughts on El Patron's Past
This quote shows us that although El Patron is an evil figure in the House of the Scorpion, and was ultimately trying to harm Matt, he was still able to recognize El Patron's pasts and the man's efforts. I think this realization and recognition helped Matt to get past the rough patches in his life and finally acquire his dream of running Opium.
Overall we can certainly see that Farmer did a great job at getting her universal truth across to her readers and was able to show us not only the theme but the importance of it as it coursed throughout the novel.