The House of the Scorpion
How we cite our quotes:
"When you're small you can choose which way to grow." (7.40)
Tam Lin is one smart dude. Whether he knows it or not, Matt's entire life before age fourteen is made up of a series of decisions about who he wants to become.
"He's deeply religious. He thinks God put him on earth for a certain number of years and that he mustn't ask for more."
El Patrón stared at Mr. Alacrán for a long moment. (11.51-2)
El Viejo chooses to believe in God. El Patrón choose to believe in... himself. The conflict between these two isn't explored much in the novel, but the contrast couldn't be more stark.
For an instant he wanted to say, Stop. It was a joke, I didn't mean it. But it was too late. El Patrón was watching them with obvious glee, and Matt realized it might be dangerous to draw back now. (11.87)
Poor Matt's bad decisions start to spiral out of control here. Plus, Matt realizes that once you make a bad call, it's really hard to take it back. Some things are irreversible.