From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion


by Nancy Farmer

Analysis: What's Up With the Title?

The scorpion is the chosen symbol or crest that El Patrón uses for his family. Having a family seal is a sort of old school practice. Think medieval knights or feudal landlords. Often, even today, wealthy, powerful families have a crest that has symbolic meaning for their house or family. So in The House of the Scorpion, the word house refers to the Alacrán family, and the scorpion refers to the symbol that El Patrón has chosen to represent that family.

Phew. We've got that part down. But why the scorpion in the first place? They're not exactly friendly creatures. Plus they're really ugly (sorry, scorpions, but you know it's true). They're poisonous, sometimes lethal. They're sneaky, and hide from view until they sting you. Starting to sound familiar? El Patrón, too, is sneaky and dangerous, and he's definitely lethal. Plus, it doesn't hurt that scorpions are known to be desert creatures, and Opium is a desert country. So maybe El Patrón has picked a creature that he thinks is a fitting representation of himself – a powerful, terrible desert-dweller.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...