The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
El Patrón is still weak and sickly. He keeps speaking about his siblings who died in childhood. Matt plays guitar in order to comfort him. One day, Matt’s voice, unusually high pitched and beautiful, cracks while he’s singing. El Patrón tells Matt to ask Celia or Tam Lin to explain this change. Later, Matt asks Celia why his voice is cracking, and Celia begins crying, saying he is becoming a man. She says she will throw a party to celebrate. Matt examines the acne and stubble recently appeared on his face and feels disappointed by the change.
The changes to Matt’s body show how he is going through puberty and therefore transitioning into a more independent, mature individual. The maturation of his body parallels his mental maturation, as he becomes more aware of the injustices of his society. Celia’s tears reveal her deep love for Matt but also suggest her unspecified anxieties about his future.
Themes
Free Will vs. Predetermination Theme Icon
Language, Law, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
That night, Matt, Celia, and Tam Lin have a small party out in the garden. Matt asks how long ago he was born. Tam Lin insists Matt was harvested, not born. Celia tells Tam Lin not to talk about such things, because of the cameras, but Tam Lin begins shouting about secrets and lies. After he calms himself, he explains to Matt that a clone grows inside a cow and then the cow is cut open and “sacrificed” when the clone is harvested.
Tam Lin’s anger shows his increased conflict over the circumstances of Matt’s creation. His mention of secrets shows his additional conflict about the denial of information toward Matt. His fixation on how a cow was “sacrificed” to create Matt hints at his greater fears of another form of sacrifice.
Themes
Language, Law, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Abuse of Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Celia tries to comfort Tam Lin. He laments about how the family treats them all like lab animals. Celia says there’s hope for the future, but Tam Lin tells her whatever she’s planning is too dangerous. Celia says the hundreds of thousands of eejits buried out in the poppy fields are enough. She tells Matt to go to bed.
Celia’s comments about the eejits show that, in addition to being kind and selfless, her character is very brave and has a strong sense of justice. She is also clearly planning something secretive, which Tam Lin sees as risky.
Themes
Free Will vs. Predetermination Theme Icon
Abuse of Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Matt goes to his bedroom angry that, once again, he is not allowed to know information that directly concerns him. Matt know, however, that whatever this information is, it concerns him as a clone. He wonders why anyone would even create a clone, if clones are so hated. He thinks about how right after he saw MacGregor’s clone in the hospital, MacGregor had been bragging about his new liver and kidneys. Matt realizes, with horror, that MacGregor created his clone in order to harvest organs from him. Matt wonders about the origins of El Patrón’s fetal implants and donor heart.
This is a pivotal moment for Matt as he realizes the horrible destiny his society intends for clones. Notably, Matt is not presented with any new information in this scene. Instead, he reconsiders that evidence that has been in front of him all along and comes to a new conclusion. This revelation shows his newly developed maturity as a character because he is now able to internally infer and confront the injustices of his society toward clones.
Themes
Free Will vs. Predetermination Theme Icon
Scientific Ethics and Abuse Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Matt reasons that he must be different from all the other clones, because El Patrón didn’t destroy his brain when he was a baby, and gave him Celia and Tam Lin to take care of him. He provided Matt with an education, which he wouldn’t do if he planned on killing him later. Matt thinks El Patrón cares for him purely out of El Patrón’s own vanity, and feels horrible for being so devoted to an evil man.
Matt further shows his newly developed maturity by recognizing El Patrón for who he truly is as a vain, evil person. However, Matt continues to struggle with his connection to El Patrón, as shown by his guilt over still loving the old man.
Themes
Free Will vs. Predetermination Theme Icon
Abuse of Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Celia and Tam Lin come in to say goodnight to Matt. Celia discovers Matt has a fever and goes to make him tea. Tam Lin tells Matt that he is 14 years old.
Tam Lin shows that, in spite of Matt’s newfound knowledge that clones are merely used as harvestable resources, he values Matt’s individual identity by giving him an important piece of personal information.
Themes
Free Will vs. Predetermination Theme Icon
Language, Law, and Dehumanization Theme Icon