Human vs Human?

House of the Scorpion, like a number of the other books we have read, questions the nature of humanity and what it is to be human. The revulsion Matteo is given when the Big House staff realize he’s a clone, the injection given to most clones to turn them into dumb beasts, the chips that turn the workers at Opium into “eejits” and even the Keepers and Lost Boys towards the end of the novel. Just like in Blade Runner, Lilith’s Brood and Frankenstein there is the question of whether the clone, whether something constructed by man to resemble man is truly human. Even when that construct is a clone of humanity, identical in all respects, there is still that question. This conflicted question is given greater emphasis with the presence of the eejits, normal humans turned into little better than mindless automatons, and whether they are still “human.” Then the injection given to clones is also an interesting thing to consider. It brings up many questions about the society that would implement such a thing, and make it standard procedure for clones to receive. It hints at the underlying fear of clones, their potential and what they represent. It’s a procedure that emphasizes the “otherness” of clones and shows the desire to protect the “original” from the influence or competition of “copies.” Which makes it all the more interesting when compared to the dehumanizing behavior of the Keepers and the eejits. Real humans who are or at least act less than human in various respects, in a society that fears the potential of clones and destroys their intellect. These juxtaposed groups really speak to the underlying attitude and nature of the society into which Matteo is thrust and provides a rich backdrop for his character to develop and grow to be more human than the dehumanized individuals around him.

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