Created By: ayjazz1 on July 4, 2009

House of the Scorpion

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Now before you guys fill the replies with "YKTTW" is for new tropes only! You don't need to put media in here!" I just want to put this article I typed up for suggestions for tropes before I launch the article. While this book is well known, I haven't seen it mentioned much on the site in tropes, only once. I figured if I made it without the YKTTW, Wiki Magic would not have gotten a hold of it like it should have, and we would have been left with a stubby article. Basically, I need more tropes for it, and suggestions for improvement on the description. I personally think its too dry, any suggestions to make it "funner" to read would be nice. Thanks!

The House of the Scorpion is a 2002 novel by Nancy Farmer. Set 20 Minutes into the Future in the fictional country of Opium, a strip of land between Mexico, which is now known as Aztlan and a impoverished United States, House of the Scorpion is a story about a boy named Matt who is a clone for drug lord and ruler of Opium Matteo Alacran, more commonly referred to as El Patron. Initially, he lives with a caregiver named Celia in a little cottage in the middle of a poppy field. Later, he moves in with El Patron, but is treated like crap by everyone there except a few of the characters and El Patron only because he is a clone, which are rendered idiotic by mandated drug use. While living in El Patron's mansion, he learns about the history of Opium, and about the people he lives with. Observing the people in Opium and one scene where he finds a dead worker's body in the field, he tells himself when he rules after El Patron's death, he will free all the workers and make Opium a better place. However after El Patron suffers a near-fatal heart attack, it is revealed to Matt (although hinted at to the readers) that he was never meant to be a replacement, at least not all of him. His only worth to El Patron is to give him the satisfaction of someone like him having the childhood he never had, and for spare parts. Celia poisons Matt with a small amount of arsenic in order to make him worthless to El Patron. With the help of his bodyguard Tam Lin, he escapes, from one harsh world, right into another. The book was the winner of thirteen different awards, including the Newberry Honor and the National Book Award. A film adaption was hinted at Imdb several years ago, but nothing came of it.

House of the Scorpion contains examples of:

A World Half Full: Matt gains control of Opium in the end, and will work on shutting it down and freeing the enslaved illegals within its borders.

Automaton Horses: Justified and played straight the horses, known as "safe horses" are embedded with a computer chip, that makes them follow any order given and do it until ordered to stop. They can be ridden to exhaustion and will keep going until ordered otherwise. They will die without food and water like a normal horse.

Author Tract: The book can be read as a insight on human cloning, immigration, The War On Drugs, slavery, pollution, and stem cell research. Word of God says that she is not against human cloning, but is very wary about it.

Crapsack World: The U.S.'s economy is so bad, in fact, In one scene, El Patron mentions that he catches illegals crossing not only into the United States, but into Aztlan as well. Meanwhile, Aztlan, seems to be under a quasi-communist society with people known as keepers who use orphaned children for labor. Not much is said about the rest of the world, but a country running opium everywhere on the planet except the U.S. and Aztlan, that is protected by said countries and is unchecked by their (or anybodies) drug authorities probably isn't doing it much good.

Drugs Are Bad: Looked at. The nation of Opium is said to be formed when powerful drug dealers made a deal with U.S. and Mexican leaders, offering to secure their borders and not traffic drugs into their country. In return, they demand to be left alone to ship drugs to the rest of the world. What this system does to the rest of the world is hinted at, but never really described. Later in the novel, Matt gets the Keepers arrested by accusing them of illegally taking opium products. When they object to this, Maria's mother simply says, "Fine, then I guess you won't object to a drug test," as they are led away by the cops.

Does This Remind You of Anything?: Clones are created simply to replace organs, and considered nonhuman. Sounds like something that rhymes with Htem Mell Schsearch.

Government Drug Enforcement : By law, clones must be given drugs at birth to stunt their intelligence, making them just a step above vegetables. Matt avoided this simply because of El Patron's influence.

Human Resources: Clones are created simply for the purposes of extending their original's life span.

Oh, Crap!: The Keepers as they are led away to be drug tested.

Soylent Soy: Subverted. The Lost Boys live off of plankton, but later once Matt escapes from the Keepers, one character mentions that it is used only for animal feed.

What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One of the central themes of the book. Clones are declared nonhuman by international law and must be dumbed down with drugs to justify harvesting them for organs. Matt escapes this treatment only because El Patron has enough power to break this law without consequence. This way of thinking is so prevalant that Maria is shocked when she is told that Matt is and always has been human.

Community Feedback Replies: 3
  • July 4, 2009
    Writeup looks decent, though there seems to be a problem with some of the letters here and there. May just be that I don't have the right languages installed for the characters or something.
  • July 4, 2009
    Yea, I noticed when I posted it, but I had to leave for cake, so I decided to fix it up later. They are supposed to be accented characters that didn't copy over from Word.
  • July 4, 2009
    For what it's worth, HTML code for accented characters always works on real pages (though it sometimes confuses YKTTW).

    I don't think you have to worry much about this getting lost--just add it as an example of each of the tropes you're linking to and that should be enough.