Part 4 – The Theme of “The House of the Scorpion”

Nancy Farmer

The House of the Scorpion is a fictional novel written by Nancy Farmer.  The story is about a boy named Matteo Alacran who is a clone of El Patron, intelligent, and is misunderstood. When I was first reading this book- The House of the Scorpion– I thought I was not going to learn anything. But as I read it, it became clear that the theme was ‘you don’t need everyone to like you to succeed’. I found this the perfect theme because Matteo goes throughout the entire book where people do not like him, but in the end he always succeeds.

At the beginning of this book Matteo is held captive, and put in unhealthy conditions by the head maid Rosa. Rosa was physically and verbally abusive towards Matt when he first got to the house of El Patron. Rosa would say things like “bleating won’t save you , you good for nothing animal”(39, Farmer), “I could kill you”(39), and blaming him for when things like her love life with the doctor ‘Wilum’ didn’t go right-ew. When Rosa says things like this to Matteo it doesn’t make me like her anymore than vegetables, it is just nasty. But in the end when El Patron finds out Rosa is taking away, leaving Matteo to his momma-Celia who misses him very much.

When Celia and Matteo reunite, he sadly has to deal with the silence of Alacran Family when he meets them. To win over their hearts Matteo see’s the beauty in music, and the power of knowledge in his schooling. Matt worked hard but to only have disappointment when they still didn’t accept his effort to be welcomed by the Alacran Family. “Everything changed during the annual birthday party. It was really El Patron’s party, but it had developed into a celebration for Matt as well. At least Celia, Tam Lin, Maria, and El Patron celebrated for him. Everyone else just gritted their teeth and got through the day.”(97) I believe that at first Matteo was discouraged that after all the worked he done for the rest of the Alacran Family to like him, but I think he realized himself that he doesn’t need to be liked by everyone to be happy and to succeed which is a nice way to think before he has to flee the country.

In the end, when Matteo returns from his run in with the “Keepers“, his time at the Plankton Plant, and his adventures with the “Lost Boys” he comes back to the country of Opium to meet with Celia and Tam Lin to find out that”El Patron had poison the wine at his funeral”(321) and “it didn’t take long for the poison to take effect until everyone starting falling”(322) causing everyone who hated Matteo as a passion to die of the poison. This caused Matteo to be the real and only Matteo Alacran-not a clone- the leader of Opium with nobody to stand in his way. Personally I think that it is depressing that the entire Alacran Family had all died but it teaches you a lesson not to mess with the underdogs because you might die-just kidding-but seriously- I think it was the right thing to do to further develope Matteo’s character.

In conclusion, Matteo did not need to be liked by the Alacran Family to be the leader in taking the 100 year reign of the wicked El Patron’s twisted empire. Making the overall theme to be ‘you don’t need everyone to like you to succeed’.





One thought on “Part 4 – The Theme of “The House of the Scorpion”

  1. Terrific post-Aaryn!
    I really like that you have so clearly stated your theme and then supported it with evidence from the text. You have done a great job integrating the evidence with your thinking. I also appreciate the links you have embedded in your post to external sources about the book.

    The “lost boys” is a great pop culture reference that conjures up memories for most readers.

    Thanks for this post!

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