The House of the Scorpion Characters

Nancy Farmer


Matteo Alacran

Matteo is the protagonist of the story, and readers see him develop from a small child into a teenager through the course of the novel. He is a clone, a human being produced as an exact replica of the drug lord El Patron, who rules over an opium-dealing empire. Matt's stated purpose in being created is to provide a healthy human heart transplant for the ailing El Patron, but his individuality and strength of character free him from that fate. He is at times petulant and spoiled, but he slowly learns to treat others with respect and kindness. He grows from a sheltered, selfish child to a knowledgeable and wise character who is willing to stand up for what is right. He demonstrates great courage by the end of the novel, sticking up for friends and enduring and persevering under great odds. Matt also serves as a good platform to present important themes dealing with clones, ethics, human rights, and spirituality because the story is written from his perspective, that of a clone who has to struggle to earn his respect and way in a world that is set against him.

El Patron

Drug lord over the country called Opium whose entire purpose is to produce and distribute opium to the world, El Patron is a man who is sustaining his mortality through numerous organ and cell transplants. Having risen from the depths of poverty, El Patron builds an empire where he rules using fear tactics, violence, and manipulation along with technological advances that enable him to create massive slave forces in the form of humans turned into eejits. He is corrupt, cruel, twisted, and malevolent; to him, people are tools to increase his power and fuel his megalomaniacal self-love. His demeanor can be charming and kind, then cold and domineering. Because of his status and ability to charm, people are often viciously loyal to him, which only increases his power and security. Through Matt's character, we see him through different eyes; Matt loves the old man despite his many faults, which presents El Patron with a more rounded perspective that is free from total judgment and negativity. El Patron functions to show the...

(The entire section is 880 words.)