When we first learned about theme in literature this year, we were told that great novels usually had multiple themes. This couldn't be more true in The House of the Scorpion.
Therefore, this post is going to be different. Instead of what I was told to do, I'm going to take some theme statements from groups (we did projects surrounding the theme in groups in class and developed theme statements) and share my opinion on them. Oh, and you should no that I didn't pay any attention to the discussions and reasoning behind the groups' choice, but rather I took statements I found appealing and started with merely a blank slate and my own mind. (ha. merely my own mind. I should gain some self-confidence).
Stung by the Book: Adopting your identity, formed and developed by both your choices and those of others.
- This was my group. Personally, I found it difficult to connect to the statement, as the message isn't very clear. However there are some key words and concepts that can be seen, and I do agree with those. Identity is a major element of the novel, and therefore is essential to the theme, as I believe Matt's identity is the prominent force that guided the plot and his choices. That relates to another key word in this theme statement: choices. Not just yours, but other people's choices too. Identity and choices go hand in hand in relation to the novel, as Matt and his life were shaped by many factors, and an overwhelming number of those were external. El Patron, Maria, Celia, and Tam Lin are just a few of the characters who collectively had just as large a role as Matt when it came to developing who he was. To sum it all up, the word "adopting" embraces the fact that identity was a struggle and something Matt had to achieve. An identity that he could accept was not just given to him, but rather he had to work both to shape it how he wanted and deal with what it was.
Mission Scorpio: Breaking free of the things that hold you back.
- To me, this statement provides backing to the one above. Throughout the novel, Matt was faced with so many external influences and very sparse chances to control his life or who he was, so the challenge was how he could break free of those issues. And sometimes, like in The House of the Scorpion, freedom comes from accepting things you can't change.
The Sting of the Scorpions: Evil lies in the eyes of the beholder.
- Although I can't really relate this to what I've said above, I still see an unbelievably strong message in this statement. What really intrigues me is how timeless this theme is, as it can even be connected to influences such as media today, and how everything all boils down to our perspective on things. Events and situations don't shape how we feel and who we are, but rather it is our thoughts on these things that truly make the difference. Throughout The House of the Scorpion, evil is constantly redefined, and we get a deep look into morals and what matters to the characters and society.
Arthrophobia: Others can't define your self worth; you do.
- What I find interesting about this theme statement is that it may not be the largest umbrella enveloping the story, but it is definitely true and present in the novel. This theme essentially sums up Matt's journey, where he tries to find ways to change himself and the world, but learns that he must accept some things the way they are. The theme statement at hand develops this by emphasizing the idea that self-worth is up to you, and will be defined by not only your actions, but whether or not you choose to take action. So incredibly true in the novel.
That's all the thinking I can do for now.
Have a great day :)