The House of the Scorpion

by Nancy Farmer

Start Free Trial

What does it mean to be human in The House of the Scorpion? Can a clone like Matt truly experience feelings?

Quick answer:

Matt is, by definition, a clone. However, he's still human. The fact that he is a clone does not change the fact that he has emotions and can feel pain. He has the same capabilities as any other human being to feel complex emotions - even love; he just may not have had the chance to experience them yet. I loved how you could choose your own ending for Matt in this book, it was really interesting to see all the different ways Matt could end up! I really liked reading about clones and finding out why you would want/not want to be one. Although Matt wasn't my favorite character in the book I think he is one of the most important because if it weren't for him we wouldn'

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I can offer you some interesting background information that might help inform your decision and provide you with some reasons for your decision. 

What does it mean to be human?

This is a question that has preoccupied scholars, philosophers, and scientists for an incredibly long time. Some people define humanity as a biological genetic sequence; some as an ability to reason; some through means of communication; others by still more reasons. I've attached a link to a TED talk debate that contains many different opinions that you could peruse. Try and see which one you agree with best. 

Is Matt just a clone, or an animal? 

Again, this depends on your definition of humanity. It goes without saying that Matt's genesis was through cloning, but then the question becomes whether or not he should be considered human despite this fact. For the past century or so, the ethics of cloning - and whether or not clones would be considered humans - has entered the scientific and religious worlds. I've attached a link that presents you with the debate on human cloning; as you can see, people have many different reasons that justify their opinions. 

Can a clone truly experience feelings? 

A clone is, by definition, an exact genetic replica. The question is: do humans experience feelings because of our biology, or because of something more ethereal, like a soul? I've attached more information on clones in general to help you formulate an opinion. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial