Even though I read the summary of The House of the Scorpion and I began reading the novel with the knowledge that Matt is a clone, I never saw him in that way. I saw him as an individual who needs love and care and attention. I immediately connected with him and his feelings of loneliness; “Matt was swept away with such an intense feeling of desolation, he thought he might die” (Farmer, pg 9). With the exception of the first chapter, the story is centered around Matt, his thoughts, emotions and daily life. The way the story is set up, I feel as though the narrator wants the reader to connect with Matt and later sympathize with him when he is treated badly by the Alacran family.
During chapters 2 and 3, I viewed Matt as a normal little boy who has the rotten luck of being quarantined and left alone for hours on end, every day. I totally forgot that he is a clone because there was nothing about him that stood out to me as “clone-like” behavior- there was nothing strikingly odd about him. The only thing that felt odd about the whole situation was the fact that he’s not allowed to leave the house or have anyone see him; “You must stay hidden in the nest like a good little mouse” (Farmer, pg 5).
I was startled toward the end of chapter 3 and in chapters 4 through 6 when different characters were calling Matt awful names, such as “little beast”, “creature”, “animal” and “monster”. They even refer to him as an “it.” I actually took offense to the namecalling and how they (Rosa, the “fierce man”, etc) were treating Matt. I found myself being on his side, thinking, “He’s just an innocent kid! He hasn’t done anything wrong!”
Which makes me wonder….is Matt really a “him”? or is he really an “it”? Is he not human simpy because he is a clone? He looks like any other human- he can think, feel and communicate. But he was “harvested” in a petri dish and his fragile body developed in the womb of a cow (gross, by the way). He is a product of someone else’s DNA. But does that make him “inhuman”? It makes me think of Frankenstein’s monster. He could think, feel, and communicate. He was made from body parts of dead humans and brought to life by his father’s scientific hand. Yet, he was not considered “human”. In reality Matt and Frankenstein’s monster are very humanlike- they were just not created in the normal way that humans are usually created. Once again, we see themes of what defines humanity in The House of the Scorpion, a theme we have been running into all semester.