Monday, 20 May 2013

Characterization: The House of the Scorpion

            Throughout this novel there was a constant idea that was extended. On the back of the book The House of the Scorpion it notes that “Matteo Alacran was not born; he was harvested.” The first chapter gave us some information about clones, and how their brains are destroyed after birth. But Matt was the one special clone who had his brain intact, why? After some analyzing, I believe Farmer kept it this way to allow Matt to develop his own personality and identity. This led me to another thought about Matt’s relationship with many other characters. Let begin with identifying Matt more closely.

            “You’re exactly like El Patron when he was seven years old.” Matt looked down at his toes. That’s all he was: a photograph.” (Farmer 80). Ever since the initial beginning of the book, there was something about Matt that made him different from everybody; he was a clone. “Don’t fix that one […] It’s a Matteo Alacran. They’re always left intact.” (Farmer 9). This sentence implicated the chance that Matt was not the first clone of Matteo Alacran. After some painful events of window glass shards cutting Matt’s foot, he was carried miles to the Big House. From the beginning, Matt’s well being seemed to be considered, just until people discovered his tattooed foot signifying he was a clone. Instantly, people viewed Matt from being an innocent, hurt boy, into a filthy, dirty clone. Even the individuals he had seen as friends ignored him and despised to even look at such an unwanted animal. Being that everyone saw Matt as an animal, he was treated like one too, locked in a narrow room with heaps of sawdust. He spent several months trying to make this completely boring room entertaining, which began to show his imaginative side. He was adventurous and imaginative, much different from his original figure of which he was a clone, El Patron. By the end of the novel, we’re quite positive that Matt had grown into a decent man. Also, it was obvious that he was a strong individual who would make a good leader of Opium, at least better than the original evil El Patron!
            Honestly, Matt was quite young and had many influences affecting him – El Patron, Celia, Tam Lin and Maria – all trying to teach him how to become a better person. Maria was the one who taught Matt compassion and love. In terms of influence, Celia acted like a mother figure that taught Matt manners and respect, but Tam Lin had a more significant impact on Matt’s growth. He taught Matt to be independent and strong, putting Matt on the path of sorting out who he is and who he wants to become. “When you’re small, you can choose which way to grow. If you’re kind and decent, you grow into a kind and decent man. If you’re like El Patron … Just think about it.” (Farmer 70) Initially, most readers believed that El Patron would have an immense impact on Matt, but that was incorrect. But later throughout the novel, Matt starts to come into his own realization. He began to exit from under El Patrons shadow and enter his own, just by making his own choices. All these choices and identity development is what made Matt a strong character, specifically a protagonist. These details also add to him becoming a round and dynamic character.  Just like in most stories, in the end the hero saves the day like Matt saved Opium!


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