The House of the Scorpion Summary & Study Guide

Nancy Farmer
This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The House of the Scorpion.
This section contains 529 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The House of the Scorpion Summary & Study Guide Description

The House of the Scorpion Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer is an intriguing story about a young man who discovers he is a clone and must struggle to learn what this means. Matteo Alacran, a clone harvested from the DNA of El Patron, the Master of Opium, is treated poorly by the Alacran family and servants, despite his superior education and his attempts to fit in. After escaping death by fleeing to the neighboring nation of Atzlan, Matt faces isolation for reasons he never imagined. The House of the Scorpion is an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable novel.

Matt lives isolated in a house in the middle of the poppy fields with Celia. When children appear outside the window and try to talk to him, Matt breaks the window and jumps out, cutting himself on the glass. The children carry him to the Big House on the Alacran Estate to see the doctor, but when Mr. Alacran recognizes Matt as El Patron's clone, he puts Rosa in charge of Matt. Rosa imprisons Matt in a room filled with sawdust, treating him like an animal, but when Celia finds out what is going on, she contacts El Patron who rescues Matt and forbids anyone to treat Matt poorly. Matt is educated and raised in the Big House, but the Alacrans and their servants ignore him as much as possible. Maria Mendoza is Matt's only friend near his age. Tam Lin, his bodyguard, teaches him a bit about life outside of the poppy fields. El Patron loves Matt because Matt is El Patron.

When Matt learns that clones are created to harvest body organs, he is distraught, but he convinces himself that El Patron would not waste resources educating him if he is supposed to be used for spare parts. During Steven and Emilia's wedding, El Patron has a heart attack, and though Maria tries to save him, Matt is captured and taken to the hospital so that he can be used for El Patron's heart transplant. Since Celia has poisoned Matt with arsenic, El Patron cannot use his heart, and he dies. Mr. Alacran orders Tam Lin to destroy Matt, but instead, Tam Lin sends Matt to Atzlan to find Maria.

When Matt escapes Opium, the Keepers take responsibility for him, sending him to work in the plankton factory near San Luis where he is mocked as an aristocrat. After escaping his intended death in the boneyard, Matt escapes from the plankton factory with three friends and finally reaches the convent of Santa Clara where Maria resides. Esperanza, Maria's mother, sends Matt to Opium to investigate the lockdown that has been in effect since El Patron's death because only Matt can override the system since he shares El Patron's DNA. At the Big House, Matt is reunited with Celia who tells him how everyone at El Patron's wake, including Tam Lin, was killed by poisoned wine because El Patron wanted to be buried with all of his possessions, including people. Since the original Matteo Alacran, El Patron, died, Matt is now the Master of Opium, and he prepares to take responsibility and correct the evils that his predecessor committed.

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This section contains 529 words
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