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The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion

by Nancy Farmer

Analysis: Plot Analysis

Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.

Initial Situation

In the Beginning... Eduardo Created a Clone

The initial set-up is filled with mystery as we discover a new world through Matt, who at first knows of nothing outside his home. Things get crazy when he discovers – wait for it – he's a clone.

Conflict

Imprisoned in His Own (Eventual) Home

Matt suffers horribly while imprisoned by Rosa. Although he is finally freed and reunited with Celia, his life changes drastically after his ordeal with Rosa as he meets a new cast of characters and is taken under the wing of El Patrón. Discovering his clone-hood has given Matt all kinds of identity issues. He needs an appointment with Dr. Freud, and fast.

Complication

It's All in the Family

Matt is now a member of the "family" at the Alacrán Estate and grows up under very strange, but not totally terrible circumstances. This section of the novel is about Matt growing and making tough choices about who he wants to be. The complication here is that Matt, while in many ways an ordinary boy, is growing up to be a man. But he's a clone, so just what exactly will he grow up to be?

Climax

Matt Makes a Break for It

Matt's world comes crashing down when his true fate is revealed, and he comes close to being killed. His friends stand up to El Patrón on his behalf, but he must leave Celia and Tam Lin behind in uncertain circumstances. Will Matt survive the unsure path ahead?

Suspense

A Lost Boy Joins the Lost Boys

Matt's escape signals a huge shift in the novel as Matt discovers a world outside of Opium. He makes new friends and enemies and faces a whole new set of adventures. But in which world will he make his home? At this point, we're unsure where Matt's headed. Hence the suspense.

Denouement

Matt makes a break for it, Part II

Matt has to escape yet again with the help of his peers, but when he does, he's reunited with his lady love and finds safe haven. It's after this episode that Matt comes into his own as an adult.

Conclusion

Homecoming King

Matt's childhood comes to a close as he returns to Opium to become the kind of leader El Patrón never was.

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