House of the Scorpion Unit

House of the Scorpion

Directions:  As we read through the House of the Scorpion, you will be filling out this study guide.  At the end of the unit, we will collect this study guide for a test grade.

Part I:

Explain in detail the parts of the novel that follow the plot diagram.

Use details and quotes from the novel to explain each section.

1.  Exposition—

2.  Rising Action—

3.  Climax—-

4.  Falling Action—

5.  Resolution—

Part II:

(At least one full page double-spaced)

For this task, you will do a character review of one of the major characters in your story.

Include in your character review the following things:

*Personality Traits (at least 3).  Be sure to use quotes from the book to use as examples of each of the three personality traits.

*Character Development~Here you will describe what type of person your character was at the beginning of the story and how he/she changed towards the end of the story.  All major characters in literature will go through some type of transformation.  Your job is to report on what that transformation was.

Part III:

Study Guides:  Answer the questions for the following chapters.  Be sure to use complete sentences.   Not all questions are in order.

Chapters 1-5

1.  What did Lisa, a senior technician, prevent Eduardo from doing to the newborn child?

2.  What did Matt do each day while Celia was away at work?

3.  Where did Celia go to work each day?

4.  What unexpected surprise happened on a day as he was watching television soap operas?

5.  Whose clone was Matt?

6.  Why couldn’t Matt simply go outside and play with the children?

7.  What caused Matt to smash out a window and then leap outside onto broken glass?

8.  What happened to Matt when he leaped to the ground?

9.  Where did Steven, Emilia, and Maria decide to carry Matt in order to care for him?

10.   Who insisted that Matt be brought inside for medical attention after Mr. Alacran threw him out?  Why did he insist?

11.  What words were inscribed on the bottom of Matt’s foot?  How did people react?

12.  Where was Matt taken after the tattoo on his foot was revealed?

13.  List two people who stopped by Matt’s window and promised to help set him free.

14.  Angry at having to take care of Matt, how did Rosa treat the boy?

15.  Describe the relationship between the doctor and Rosa.

16.  How many years passed between Chapters 1 and 2?

17.  Who secretly visited Matt?  What did she bring him?

18.  What did Matt do to fight off the dullness that could overtake him?

Chapters 6-10

1.  What unexpected treatment did Rosa give Matt at the beginning of Chapter 6?

2.  Who was Matt being prepared to meet?

3.  According to El Patron’s orders, how was everyone in the Big House to treat Matt?

4.  How old was El Patron?

5.  After examining Matt, what health report did the doctor give El Patron concerning    his clone?

6.  Who did Matt choose to be his personal bodyguard?  Why?

7.  What health problem did Matt display at the beginning of chapter 7?

8.  What breakthrough happened after six days of home schooling with Teacher?

9.  What is an eejit?

10.  How was Matt’s education conducted after Teacher was dismissed?

11.  Who besides Matt found Tom to be “an unnatural little weevil”?  Why?

12.  How did Tam Lin help Matt celebrate his breakthrough?

13.  List two reasons why Tam Lin took Matt on a picnic to the secret oasis.

14.  What did Matt learn about the horses Tam Lin and he rode to the picnic area?

15.  Who was Furball?

16.  Who was Felicia?

17.  Why did Matt like to hide behind the potted plants in the music room each afternoon?

18.  What discovery did Matt make on day while hiding inside a closet off the music room?

19.  What part of the day was the music room available for Matt to use?

20.  Why did Tam Lin secure the services of Mr. Ortega, a deaf man?  Why was he considered desperate?

21.  What birthday did el Patron celebrate in Chapter 10?

Chapters 11-14

1.  What did Tom show the kids at the hospital?

2.  What made Matt different from other clones?

3.  What was Matt’s purpose when he kidnapped Maria’s dog?

4.  Why did El Patron banish Tom to a year-round boarding school with no holidays?

5.  What did Matt do with Tom’s place card after he found it near his at the head table?

6.  Who had set Felicia up to deliver the message?

7.  Matt observed that the clone in the hospital resembled whom?

8.  Describe laudanum and its effects.

9.  What did Matt request from Maria at El Patron’s birthday party?

10.  List two unexpected effects of Matt’s kidnapping attempt.

11.  What did Celia have in common with El Patron?

12.  Who joined Matt and Maria at the hospital?

13.  What was El Patron’s attitude towards birthday gifts?

14.  According to Celia, what happened to all clones at birth?

15.  What unexpected message did Felicia deliver to Matt one day after the party?

16.  Who was Maria’s father?

17.  What did Celia tell Matt about Tom’s parents?

18.  Why did Matt steal a small bottle of Felicia’s laudanum?

19.  What evidence pointed to Matt as the one who’d killed Maria’s dog?

20.  What special skill led Celia to belong to El Patron?

21.  Where did Matt find bottles of laudanum?

Chapters 15-18

1.  Who wrote A History of Opium, one of the books Tam Lin had left Matt in the metal chest?

2.  Where did Senator Mendoza send Maria and Emilia to live, soon after Furball was killed?

3.  What crime did Maria and Matt overhear Felicia admit to while hiding in the secret passageway?

4.  How did Matt manage to get back to the Big House from the waste treatment plant?

5.  Where did Matt take Maria as the two fled El Viejo’s funeral?

6.  Where was the country of Opium and who ruled it?

7.  Why was Matt pulled out of bed in the middle of the night and then rushed to the hospital with Celia?

8.  List two couples Matt noticed holding hands at El Viejo’s funeral.

9.  Why did El Patron acquire and use such men as Tam Lin, Ralf, Hugh, and Wee Willie, to use Farm Patrol workers?

10.  How was El Viejo related to El Patron?

11.  What was the priest’s reaction when Matt filed past El Viejo to pay his last respects?

12.  As Matt set out for a horse ride, what was the first thing he searched for?

13.  What is a Safe Horse?

14.  What happened to Matt’s safe Horse when he set out to investigate the wastelands in the north?

15.  Who defended Matt’s presence at El Viejo’s funeral?

16.  What crime had Tam Lin committed?

17.  What pleasant surprise did Matt discover in the secret oasis?

18.  How did Matt’s story of St. Francis, who gave stuff away to the poor, affect El Patron?

19.  What was the main crop of Opium and where was it marketed?

20.  Who passed away while Matt was enjoying a brief horse ride to the oasis?

Chapters 19-22

  1. How did Matt manage to view Steven and Emilia’s wedding, even though he was forbidden to attend?
  2. Who came to the secret passage to warn Matt his life was in danger?
  3. What was Maria’s plan to help Matt escape?
  4. How old was Matt at the end of Chapter 19?
  5. Why was Matt able to escape using El Patron’s secret passage, which opened only if the old man’s hand pressed against the “red scorpion”?
  6. Lying in bed after his party, what horrible reality did Matt begin to understand?
  7. Where did the secret passage from El Patron’s room lead?
  8. How did the long swim at the oasis seem to affect Matt at night?
  9. As Matt sat at El Patron’s side, what did he notice about the old man’s mind?
  10. What catastrophe happened at the very end of the wedding?
  11. Who has already on the hovercraft when Maria and Matt climbed aboard?
  12. When Matt returned to the secret oasis, what information did he read and learn about Maria’s mother, Esperanza Mendoza?
  13. Why had El Patron arranged a forced marriage between Benito and Fani, the daughter of the Nigerian president?
  14. What happened if a wrong person touched the red scorpion to open the wall for the secret escape route?
  15. How did Celia and Tam Lin help Matt celebrate his growth into manhood?
  16. How did Emilia and Maria arrive for Emilia’s wedding?
  17. How had Celia recently changed her garden?
  18. Hiding in the closet off the music room, who did Maria tell Matt she was going to marry?
  19. What happened one day as Matt played his guitar and sang a Spanish ballad for El Patron?

Chapters 23-25

1. How did Tam Lin protect Celia from becoming an eejit?

2. Why did Matt recognize the hospital room he was taken to?

3. Where did Tam Lin actually take Matt’s duct-taped body?

4. After working his way through a canyon with dense bushes, what new obstacle did

Matt encounter?

5. What awoke Matt just before dawn on the morning of his escape to Aztlán?

6. After telling Matt his service was no longer needed, what order did Mr. Alacrán give

Tam Lin?

7. What situation gave Matt an opportunity to escape past the Farm Patrol and reach the

border safely?

8. Why was Matt’s destination going to be San Luis?

9. Why didn’t Tam Lin help Celia escape with Matt?

10. What two substances did Celia secretly feed Matt so that his heart would not be a

healthy transplant for El Patrón?

11. Why was Matt told to get to the border the very next day?

12. As Matt neared the border, what problem did he observe through his binoculars?

13. After testing Matt’s blood and urine, what did the doctor report?

14. According to Tam Lin, why was Matt going to find Aztlán a confusing place?

15. Where did Tam Lin announce he’d dispose of Matt after being dismissed by Mr.


16. How did Matt learn the route to Aztlán’s border?

17. How many miles did Matt travel before reaching the Aztlán border?

18. How was Matt able to escape the Farm Patroller who grabbed him by his backpack?

19. What story was Matt to tell the Aztlános when he reached their border?

20. In what way did Tam Lin note that Matt was different than the seven clones before


4 thoughts on “House of the Scorpion Unit

  1. Good morning, Ms. Delobes!

    Yes, I can absolutely post these answers. The problem is it may take me some time to do so as I have them written on paper. I don’t want to post the answers on the blog, so if I could have permission, I will send you an e-mail with the attachment. It’s such a great novel, isn’t it?

    Let me know if there’s anything else I can do!

    Briana Clifton

  2. Dear Ms. Rule,

    I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I highly suggest reading it with your special needs students as it can open up a dialogue about how students treat others not like them. I read it with my inclusion class, and had them follow on tape. The book on tape/CD is fantastic!!!! The actor who reads it does the voices for all the characters. It is very lively and fun to listen to. It also helps those readers who have low reading comprehension, but high listening skills. Many of my former students have asked when the sequel is coming out and these are students who won’t normally pick up a book and read.

    Please let me know if there is anything else I can do!

    Briana Clifton

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