Sunday, May 12, 2013

The House of the Scorpion: Setting 1

In analyzing setting, I believe there are two main aspects to be explored: the way the setting is shared and developed, and the setting itself.

Even before the first chapter, the character cast, family tree, and chapter index gave insight into the what and when of the setting, as well as some where. Since the family tree and cast are blanketed with gruesome stories of death, corruption, and power, a hint at the general tone of the "what" is given. Moving on to the first chapter, it is quickly seen that the novel's setting is very technological and sci-fi, as we observe the growth of clones in weird labs "In the beginning there were thirty-six of them, thirty-six droplets of life so tiny Eduardo could see them only under a microscope. He studied them anxiously in the darkened room. Water bubbled through tubes that snaked around warm, humid walls. Air was sucked into growth chambers. A dull, red light shone on the faces of the workers as they watched their own arrays of little glass dishes. Each one contained a drop of life (Farmer 2)." This sci-fi aspect is developed throughout the novel, as Farmer makes it clear that eejits, clones, experimentation, and transplants are vital parts of the society.

Another aspect of the general "what" is corruption and intense hierarchy. Like medieval times, people on the bottom worked endlessly and got no reward, and the lazy brats on the top received the power and wealth. Throughout the book, strange twists are put on the hierarchy, such as the ranking of drug farmers "There were senators and famous actors, general and world-renowned doctors, a few ex-presidents, and a half a dozen dictators from places Matt had heard about on TV. There was even a faded-looking princess. And of course there were the other Farmers. The Farmers were the real aristocrats here. They ruled the drug empire that formed the border between the United States and Aztlan (Farmer 98).". The true strength of money and power is continuously a focus, and is highlighted in many ways, such as "He's a United States senator, so his opinion is worth more (Farmer 10)." and "El Patron wanted his (clone) to grow up like a real boy. He's so rich, he can break any law he wants (Farmer 26).". These aspects of the setting provide a strong basis to the narrative by forming an intense, dark tone.

Continued in The House of the Scorpion: Setting 2

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