Study Guide

The House of the Scorpion What's Up With the Ending?

By Nancy Farmer

What's Up With the Ending?

All hail Matt! At the end of the novel, Matt assumes responsibility for the country of Opium after El Patrón dies. He's got a lot on his plate, and some rather intimidating shoes to fill, but still, it's nice to see Matt triumph after years of hardship. We're hopeful for the future, because after everything that he's experienced, Matt is a levelheaded, kind, and very determined guy. Our hunch is that he's gonna change Opium for the better, and we hope our hunch pans out.

Hold your horses, you say. Hopeful? What's so hopeful about the fact that El Patrón poisoned his entire family and almost everyone Matt knew in Opium is now dead? We can't deny – that's not exactly the uplifting ending we're hoping for. But let's be honest, it's a bit of a relief. Think about it. If the Alacrán family had continued, a new El Patrón-like figure might have emerged to fill the place he left at the top. Someone like Mr. Alacrán or – yikes – Tom. Though their deaths are tragic, they also leave room for Matt to take over, and that's hopeful indeed. Plus, let's not forget: our hero gets the girl.

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