The House of the Scorpion – Theme Essay.
In the novel The House of the Scorpion, Nancy Farmer shows how death can be a reward or a punishment depending on your choices in life. In religion, it is believed that once you die your soul passes on to either Heaven or Hell based on your judgment while living. Similarly, in the novel, death is the driving force behind certain decision the characters make. In the novel The House of the Scorpion, Nancy Farmer shows that for the evil, death is often a punishment, while for the good it can be a reward, through the actions of El Patron, El Viejo and Tam Lin. .
El Patron is a character that clearly lets the fear of death drive his decisions. As El Patron neared the end of his life, he could not accept the fact that he was going to die. He found a way to cheat death and on his deathbed, El Patron reveals the reason: "There were eight of us," the old man cried. "We should all have grown up, but I was the only survivor. I am meant to have those lives! I am meant to have justice!" (pg.232). In this statement Matt discovers that El Patron intended to have those seven lives to extend his own. In order for El Patron to cheat death, he must cause death. Every gain comes with a loss and in this case, the losses were the clones whose lives were sacrificed. But alas, in the end El Patron's greed caught up with him. Eight lives, his seven siblings and his own, were what he asked for, yet, he could not control his greed. El Patron had already taken the lives of seven clones. Matt was number eight, and El Patron could not be "A Cat with Nine Lives" (title of chap 10). Not only had he extended his life with seven others, but also as Celia pointed out to El Patron, "Thousands of (his lives) are buried under the poppy fields." (pg.234). The eejits were real human beings just like his clones, yet he slaughtered them like animals.