We have finally finished our third and final litspiration challenge! This one is on theme. First of all, we had to create a theme statement. To figure this out, we had a round table, however, we ended up modifying the wording. Our final statement is... (drum roll please)...
Learn to accept who you are, for your identity is formed by emotions, skills, relationships and choices, made by you and others.
Incase it's unclear, another way to word it is...
Adopting your identity, formed not only by the choices of yourself, but also through the influence of others.
For our project, we represented Matt through a pyramid, showcasing his identity and how it has been formed, and the level to which he and society have accepted it.
Matt loves to play music, which was strange because no other clone of El Patrón has showed this passion. It shows how he is different from all the other clones, and it makes you feel even closer to him as a character.
“Music has to be in the head first, laddie. the good lord passed me by when he was handing out talent. you’ve got it ,though, and it’d be a shame not to use it. I will talk to El Patrón about finding you a teacher. This proved difficult. No human wanted to teach a clone and no eejit was smart enough. (Farmer 90)
“I have to admit, you were the first one with musical genius” (Farmer 239). You could easily tell that Matt had a knack for music. He is amazing at the piano and guitar, and had a voice of an angel, before he grew up. That is why one of the platforms has a guitar and a piano, and there is also a mouth with notes coming out of it to symbolize this.
Matt is a very smart boy. He has studied many books, and until almost the end of the book, he believed he could help run Opium. Matt’s experience has meant that he has learned a lot over the course of this book. To symbolize all he has learnt, one of the platforms is a book shelf, this helps us understand the different things that he learnt, many of which came from TAm Lin. His accumlative experiences with the big house, eejit pens, hearing MacGregor and El Patrón, and things that Tam Lin and Celia told him about resulted in this when he was in the secret passage with Maria:
So many hints! So many clues! Like a pebble that starts an avalanche, Matt’s fear shook loose more and more memories. Why had Tam Lin given him a chest full of supplies and maps? Why had Maria run from him when they found MacGregor’s clone in the hospital? Because she knew! They all knew! Matt’s education and accomplishments were a sham. It didn’t matter how intelligent he was. In the end the only thing that mattered was how strong his heart was. (Farmer 216)
I found it really easy to feel Matt’s emotions here. You’ve been with him the whole book, and Farmer did an excellent job of conveying emotions.
"No one can tell the difference between a clone and a human. That's because there isn't any difference. The idea of clones being inferior is a filthy lie." (Chapter 24- search it up)
“All those years Celia told him not to think of her as his mother fell away. No one else cared for him the way she did. No one protected him or loved him so much, except, perhaps, Tam Lin. And Tam Lin was like his father. ( Chapter 31- search it up)
Matt is realizing that he has a family. & although almost everyone ignores him and call him a disgusting filthy animal. There are the few, Like Tam Lin, Celia and Maria, who really see matt for his true identity and accept him for who he is.
Identity- We found Identity to be a very important overall theme of the novel. The choices that himself and others made, as well as the acceptance he feels from himself and others, play key roles in shaping his identity. One of the reasons that our group felt so strongly about this word is the fact that Matt is the exact copy of El patron. He is a replica. So how can you have separate Identities when you are Identical people? Matt has to fight to have an Identity that differs from El Patron. To be someone new, and to not follow in the footsteps of a drug lord. Matt learns that he can form his own Identity by the choices he makes, which is why we also find Choices to be an overall theme.
Even so, the ability to create music filled him with a joy too large to contain. He forgot where he was. He forgot he was a clone. The music made up for everything. (Farmer 90)
Music was something that Matt had separated from El Patron. El Patron never played piano he never played guitar. It was something that shaped Matts identity. El Patron never had that.
As had happened when he was deeply upset before, the power of speech left him. He was six years old again, master of a kingdom of gristle and bone and rotting fruit hidden beneath the sawdust in a little room. (Farmer 135)
The prison Helped shape Matt, as much as readers didn't like how Rosa treated the poor six year old. It was an important part that shaped who he was
Tomorrow he would begin the task of breaking down the empire of Opium. It was a huge and terrifying job, but he wasn't alone. (Farmer 380)
Here he found a separate Identity, he is not longer that worthless clone. He rules an empire.
Choices- Although House of the Scorpion doesn't have many gut-wrenching, life or death choices. We do think “Choices” is another overarching theme. Our group found that choices were a very large part of how Matt’s identity was shaped. Matt made choices that affected his identity, and others did as well. Celia could have treated Matt poorly, but instead she raised him like her son. She also made a choice that she would poison him so that he would be safe but she knew that she would be killed for it, or even get Matt killed.
“Don’t cry, mi vida. I love you more than anything in the world. I’ll explain things to you when you’re older.” (Farmer 6)
Tam Lin warmed to Matt, and became a fatherly figure to him. That was his choice. He could have been icy and unfriendly, but he decided not to.
“Could you teach me?” asked Matt.
Tam Lin let out a bellow of genuine laughter. “I could if you wanted to learn how to break desks with karate chops. I reckon you’ll do your schooling off the TV. I’ll be around to hang you out the window by your ankles if you don’t study.” (Farmer 83)
Steven had a choice to either help or hinder Matt twice. Both times he chose the more logical choice, hindering. Why disobey El Patrón? Or the laws?
“He is an animal.” (Farmer 26) as well,
“Clone,” said Steven, coming forward and removing Matt’s hat. He dropped it as though he’d touched something foul. (Farmer 225)
"I'll tell you this: El Patrón has his good side and his bad side. Very dark indeed is his majesty when he wants to be. When he was young, he made a choice, like a tree does when it decides to grow one way or the other. He grew large and green until he shadowed over the whole forest, but most of his branches are twisted." (Farmer 70)
"When you're small you can choose which way to grow." (Farmer 70)- In the Quote, it says he made a choice. This leads us to wonder if Matt with also become this twisted tree. Will he make the same choices?
"He's deeply religious. He thinks God put him on earth for a certain number of years and that he mustn't ask for more." (Farmer 106)
For an instant he wanted to say, Stop. It was a joke, I didn't mean it. But it was too late. El Patrón was watching them with obvious glee, and Matt realized it might be dangerous to draw back now. (Farmer 110)
This is the part where Matt demanded a birthday kiss from Maria. He learns that when you make a choice you stick with it.
"Maybe your plan won't work out. We need a backup," Celia said.
"You'll kill him."
She looked up at the secret camera. "I'd die rather than let that happen." (Farmer 199) This is when we learn that Tam lin and Celia are cooking something up. We are not sure what yet (until the end of the book. But Celia made dangerous choices with Matt. The choices that others make influenced his life just as much or in this particular case, More than the choices that you make yourself.
We split our model into 4 sections, emotions, skills, choices and places that have influenced his identity.
Places that have Influenced his identity-
This was the section where we put in the big house, Celia's house, the prison and the oasis. All of the places that formed matt and who he is, these are the very places that built the relationships he did.
Choices- We found choices to be a major part of Matt and his identity, this is why we gave it a whole section. The butterfly symbolizes the choice Celia made to poison matt, the broken glass- is a choice. El Patron the dragon- choice. All of it, its choices that Others and Matt make, that shape his Identity.
Skills- Skills was another simple one to understand, He had the skills of school and education, as well as he was very talented in music. The posters, were the posters in Celia's house from the beginning of the book, because it was what he did and did not know at the time.
Emotions- In the Emotion section we painted the background all kinds of different colors, to show his varying emotions. We put the Ring and heart, the green was tom, green envy. and the pink was Matt, although they do end up together in the end, envy was a strong emotion he felt.
During his time in prison, he mentioned the garden, and how it made him happy, he also mentioned the feather, which was one of his prized possessions