Right from the start, children attach themselves to those they see as heroes. The ones that take care of them, accept them, and believe in them are the ones who are idolized by the youthful mind. But do these champions of the naïve brain deserve the followers they gain? Certain traits of those figures could hold negative or positive impacts on their admirers, as is the case in Nancy Farmer’s The House of the Scorpion. Matt’s relationship with Tam Lin and El Patrón shows how father figures can have a heavy influence on a child’s action, resulting in an overall change in their future behaviors.
The two men taking up fatherly roles in the novel illustrate their similar traits to Matt through their actions. Both men appear to care for Matt deeply, treating Matt as if he matters and is not simply a clone to be used. Similarly, they also give him a sense of strength, continuing to shape Matt’s young mind. Their care gave Matt a form of stability, forming his character and keeping him from becoming someone like Tom, a young man who has received no love and positive attention.
Tam Lin gave Matt this stability in a different manner, one that could be seen generally as something more positive. The bodyguard’s care stems from his love for the boy, shown in the way he answers all of the child’s questions and is one of the few to have “a glint of friendliness” in his eyes directed towards the boy (Farmer 63). Amongst other things like accepting the past and simply making better choices in the future, he also teaches Matt survival skills, often making the reader laugh as he making Matt mentally stronger and equipped for a life neither one was aware Matt would one day have to live. In doing these things, Tam Lin has just provided Matt with the needed knowledge of how to live long with good morals, resulting in a positive impact.
El Patrón’s manner of teaching has darker motives and can be seen as negative in its impact on Matt’s life. Where he does show love for the clone,...