The House of Scorpion: Setting
Witten By: Heather Ngo
Novel By: Nancy FarmerThe House of the Scorpion presumably takes places in a location in Central America; the land stretches from the border of the United States of America to the mid section of Mexico. We are able to draw inferences that this is the main location where all events take place because of a few supporting details that Farmer has given us. El Patron states that Atzlan was once known as Mexico and he even gives us a bit of historical information on the setting.
As we get specifically into our scene settings, we are introduced to four major places that have had huge impacts on Matt's life; Celia's house, The Big House (Alacran Estate), and Matt's prison cell.
Celia's home is a scene setting that has great influence over Matt and his actions because it was the very foundation that determined his values, beliefs, and overall thoughts and actions. As the novel courses on, a great question arises as to nature over nurture and we can strongly see that Celia's house is one of those significant places that taught him his morals and his manners. Farmer was able to use Celia's house as a key to the success in Matt's progress throughout the novel and was able to show her readers the true difference between himself and El Patron. Although one of the purposes of Celia's home was to keep Matt safe, "[he was often] swept with such an intense feeling of desolation that he thought he would die." (Farmer, 9) I think Farmer decided to create this scene setting to show the readers that nurture really does win over nature and it is also meant to show us the younger, human side of Matt. Celia's home was one of those havens that Matt could depend on and it was also a place where he was free from the burden of being a clone. Later on he is faced with the prospect of new surroundings that take it's toll on his character and his future choices.
The first time Matt encountered the Big House was when he was being carried up "a flight of wide, marble steps that shone softly in the darkening air. On either side were orange trees, and all at once lamps went on among the leaves. Lights outlined the white walls of a vast house above, with pillars and statues and doorways going who knew where. In the centre of an arch was the carved outline of a scorpion." (Farmer, 20-21) The Big House was a major scene setting that ran throughout the course of the majority of the novel. In this one place, Matt was faced with various hardships. In many situations, Matt was taunted and bullied frequently about being a clone and a beast. Although this occurred, Matt was able to take this into account and use it as fuel to push himself to gain respect and success in the story. Along the way, Matt also encountered a variety of minor characters that was able to pass down wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration for Matt. They were a beacon of hope and pushed Matt to do his best and tried to set him up for success.
Overall, Farmer was able to create a vivid image of the scene settings and was able to create clear, crisps descriptions of each place that had a great influence over Matt. Farmer is truly an exceptional writer as she demonstrates her expert use of the aspect time by using the protagonist's age. The novel, The House of the Scorpion is partially shaped as a personal journal and allows for her readers to connect with Matt as a whole by acknowledging his age and sympathizing for his life story.