Study Guide

The Keepers in The House of the Scorpion

By Nancy Farmer

The Keepers


Jorge is – let's face it – a sociopath. The guy is nuts. A Keeper to the extreme, he's got a massive ego and likes control. We already know from our experience with El Patrón that this can be a deadly combo.

Matt causes some nasty problems for Jorge. He gets under Jorge's skin when he refuses to do what he wants him to do, like confess to ridiculous crimes. So Jorge tries to get revenge by playing play mind games with Matt in an effort to intimidate him.

As time goes on, and Matt perseveres, Jorge grows even angrier, and becomes more and more obsessed with taking Matt down. Finally, Jorge resorts to violence, beating Ton-Ton and Matt, and nearly killing Fidelito. Self-centered to a tee, Jorge then lies about his actions to his fellow Keepers. To top things off, he also tries to kills Matt and Chacho by throwing them into the boneyard. Basically he's your standard evil-doer. His only redeeming quality is that... oh wait, he has none.

To be fair, he did save Ton-Ton from the Farm Patrol, which doesn't quite mesh with his treatment of the Lost Boys. But when you consider the fact that the more Lost Boys the Keepers get, the more workers they have, this good deed seems a little less selfless. Overall, he's just a guy who can't stand losing control. This makes him power-hungry, and when he gets that power, he hoards it and abuses it. He's Aztlán's own El Patrón.


Raúl is Matt's introduction to Aztlán and to the Keepers – the guys who run the state orphanage system in Aztlán. And at first, this introduction seems like a promising one. Raúl rescues Matt from the evil Farm Patrol and is sympathetic to his situation. But when Raúl starts spouting off weird propaganda (of the communist variety), things take a turn for the sinister. Matt quickly learns that the other boys don't like the Keepers much at all, and when Raúl gives Matt an insulting nickname – "aristocrat" – Matt realizes he's not a fan of Raúl either. Raúl, it turns out, is only a friendly guy when people are following his orders.


Carlos is the head Keeper at the Plankton Factory. He's obsessed with plankton and reminds us of the shrimp-obsessed Bubba in Forrest Gump when he starts carrying on about all the great things you can do with plankton. If only he were as nice as Bubba. Unfortunately for Matt and his friends, Carlos turns out to be a total jerk. That seems to be a Keeper job qualification, actually.

At any rate, Carlos doesn't go out of his way to treat the boys well or help them at all. And he also comes after Chacho, Matt, Ton-Ton, and Fidelito when they escape to San Luis. In the end, Carlos gets arrested, along with the other Keepers, for drug dealing. We don't care what they charge him with, as long as he's in jail. Maybe when he's there, he can get a new hobby. Anything but plankton harvesting.

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