The general setting of The House of the Scorpion is on the border separating the U.S. and what we call Mexico today (which is called Aztlán in the book) (Farmer 57). They call it Opium. If we were to go scene-specific, I could go into detail about the poppy fields (Farmer 6), oasis (Farmer 79), El Patron's house (Farmer 25) and so many more, but I am going to be talking about the main setting, the Alacrán house.
I chose the Alacrán house because it is the place where the overall plot takes place. It's where Matt is taken and kept as an animal; where he lives afterward. A secret passageway is also there with a red scorpion (Farmer 221). Now that I look into it more, it is actually on the front cover of the book as well! Although the scorpion hasn't been mentioned any other time but that scene (yet), I think that it will play a big part in the book later on. After all, Nancy Farmer chose to name her book The House of the Scorpion for a reason. Now I'm getting the idea that it is describing the Alacrán house. First of all, there is a scorpion on the arch and Rosa's name-tag (Farmer 21). Secondly, El Patron describes the people from Durango as scorpions (Farmer 57) . And of course, the passageway leading outside.
There are still a question (or two) about the setting that I have unanswered though. What is happening in this time period that could be affecting Matt's story? I'm hoping that as we read on and finish this novel study that these questions will be answered. Until then, I can only guess.
For starters, I think that the story takes place in the future. There is evidence of this in the text as well. What we know today as Mexico is now called Aztlán (Farmer 57), plus there is so many new technologies. How can El Patron live so long? It’s with the new technologies that this book includes. I can't even fathom these developments happening in the modern day, but who knows? Maybe it will happen in the future.
What else is happening or has happened that could be affecting the story? Maybe Canada doesn't exist anymore. There is no mention of its existence in the text, so it’s a possibility. But if it did, how? Perhaps there was a war. Perhaps that's why there are clones, and why people need to live so long... To repopulate. Whoa! Mind blown.