The House of the Scorpion takes the concept of human cloning and addresses all of the moral and spiritual implications that come with it, including how clones would be treated in society and how they would be regarded in terms of having a soul. The debate, which is at this point just a theoretical discussion, is reality in this novel, and having a clone as the main character brings it to the forefront. Matt is a real human being with real emotions and concerns, yet he is treated like an animal or a walking collection of donor organs. These issues, along with laws concerning the status of clones in society, are all addressed.
El Patron and others like him used cloning to greatly extend the length of their lives. Whether this is beneficial or good—or even moral—is an issue in the book. Another member of the family, El Viejo, has chosen to not use clones to extend his life, and many members of the household respect him for that choice. The quality of life that El Patron lives is debatable, and he remains alive seemingly only to garner more power and fear from others.
The country of Opium is established purely on its drug trade, and El Patron's power comes through his career distribution of narcotics. Even though he is presented in a positive light through Matt's love for him, the fear, violence, and unethical means he uses to control his empire reflect poorly on the establishment of drug trafficking. Humans are turned into slaves and intimidation and bullying reign supreme in addition to the argument that drug trafficking is dishonorable or questionable at best. It is not only El Patron and his kingdom that are corrupted by drugs; the Keepers are presented as power-mongering hypocrites who use slave labor to cover their own drug-trafficking schemes. In the end, both of these establishments are taken down, and the book ends happily...
(The entire section is 795 words.)