House of the Scorpion

By: 

Nancy Farmer

Number of Pages: 

380

Minimum grade level: 

6th

Discussion questions

  1. Why is the decision made not to "blunt" Matt's intelligence? Eduardo wonders if he has done Matt a favor and if he will "thank him for it later." Was Matt's life easier or more difficult because his intelligence was left intact? Would Matt have thanked Eduardo? Why do they blunt the intelligence of all of the other clones?
  2. As a clone, Matt is treated as inhuman by most people. Is a clone, created in a lab and born from a cow still a human, or something different? of a person's personality is genetic, and how much is environmental?
  3. There is a very clear purpose for Matt's life: to be the organ donor who keeps El Patron alive. Do you think all humans have a specific purpose? What about other animals?
  4. What parts of this story seemed most believable? Least believable?
  5. The country of Opium is dependent on eejits (clone labor) for their success. Are there examples in human history of groups of people in power taking advantage of "different" people for their own success or for the success of their country?
  6. When Matt is leaving Opium, he cries for Celia and Tam Lin and El Patron. Why does Matt cry for El Patron?
  7. "In an odd way it felt as though El Patron were still alive, and in one sense he was. For Matt still existed. As long as he survived, El Patron had not vanished form the world," (p. 252.) Do you agree that as long as Matt survives, El Patron does also?
  8. Some book reviewers felt that the ending of the story was too quick and that all of the problems were solved too easily right at the end. Do you agree or disagree with that? Would you like to be cloned? What would you use a clone for?

If you like this book, try

  • The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
  • Feed by M.T. Anderson
  • Taylor Five by Ann Halam
  • Double Helix by Nancy Werlin

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.