Significant Quote from the novel: “When you’re small, you can choose which way to grow. If you’re kind and decent, you grow into a kind and decent man…He grew large and green until he shadowed over the whole forest, but most of his branches are twisted” (Page 70).
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This quote is important because Tam Lin is able to show Matt that you can choose who you become and that Matt is not destined to become just like El Patrón because he is his clone.
”He wasn’t a clone! He couldn’t be! Somehow, somewhere a mistake had been made. <…> Was he going to end up strapped to a bed, screaming until he ran out of air?” (13.1)
The short sentences and exclamation points emphasize Matt’s shock and panic after seeing MacGregor’s brain-damaged clone in the hospital. Matt is, to put it plainly, scared out of his wits.
”But Tam Lin had called Matt a human and expected much more from him. Humans, Matt realized, were a lot harder to forgive.” (14.12)
By splitting the sentence, Farmer emphasizes her point more clearly, because we start with “humans” and end with “forgive.” But why? Why are humans harder to forgive?
“No one can tell the difference between a clone and a human. That’s because there isn’t any difference. The idea of clones being inferior is a filthy lie.” (24.42)
The idea that Matt is an animal wrong . It’s nothing but lies made up by ignorant members of the Alacrán household.
”All those years Celia had told him not to think of her as his mother fell away. No one else cared for him the way she did. No one protected him or loved him so much, except, perhaps, Tam Lin. And Tam Lin was like his father. (31.102)
Here, Matt realizes that he really does have a family, even if it’s not the most normal in the world. He’s more than just someone’s clone, he is loved even though he tried to look for acceptance and love from El Patron and others he didn’t need to because the people that loved him the most were right beside him in life.
”The plan must have been in El Patrón’s mind all along. He’d never intended to let Mr. Alacrán or Steven inherit the kingdom. Their education was as hollow as Matt’s. None of them was meant to survive”. (38.28)
All of El Patrón’s clones are destined for death. How do you keep a sense of self when you know you will be killed to keep someone else alive?
”Tomorrow he would begin the task of breaking down the empire of Opium. It was a huge and terrifying job, but he wasn’t alone”. (38.63)
Here’s a new identity for Matt. He’s no longer the lonely clone. He’s now responsible for an entire country, and he’s got friends to help him.
HONESTY ( lies and decit)
“Felicia poisoned Furball,” María said.”What are you talking about?” Tam Lin was clearly startled. (16.99-100)
“But you let the doctors turn Celia into an eejit,” said Matt.”I did not! I marked her forehead so it appeared like she was operated on. I put her in the stables with Rosa.” (24.26-27).
He’s very insulted by what Matt accused him of doing. But of course Matt doesn’t have the whole truth yet, so Tam Lin has to set him straight.
”No, no, no, thought Matt. His weakness had been found out. Even though the Keeper had drawn the wrong conclusion about the tattoo, it was just as devastating.” (32.52)
Matt’s panic at being “discovered” by the Lost Boys and the Keepers is very intense. And we get an interesting theme introduced here: truths can be just as dangerous as lies.
“I knew nothing about it until today,” said the doctor.”You’re lying! Tell them, Willum! You thought it was funny. You said the beast – the boy – was in good condition!” (6.33-34)
Does anyone in this house ever tell the truth? Willum, the awful doctor, relies on lies just as much as everyone else does to get what he wants.
“You’re too young to understand much, and I wouldn’t say anything if you were a real boy.” Tam Lin tossed bread crumbs into the pool. The little fish rose to the surface to feed. “But you’re a clone,” he went on. “You haven’t got anyone to explain things to you.” (7.45)
Tam Lin treats Matt like a human for the most part but he also acknowledges just how different Matt is. Apparently, when you’re a clone, no one thinks it’s important to let you know things. Except for Tam Lin, of course.
“I always say the truth is best even when we find it unpleasant. Any rat in a sewer can lie. It’s how rats are. It’s what makes them rats. But a human doesn’t run and hide in dark places, because he’s something more. Lying is the most personal act of cowardice there is.”