Vincent Freeman lives his days yearning to be a valid; a living, breathing embodiment of flawlessness. Matteo Alacran is an exact replica of a young El Patron, a wealthy drug lord and dictator of Opium. One wishes to be a mesh of genetically modified perfection, whereas the other can only dream to be regular human being. Both live in completely opposite societies, but live under the crushing pressure to be somebody they cannot possibly truly be.
Gattaca and The House of the Scorpion have very similar themes, one of which is that it is possible to deny your fate, which makes me question whether or not pre-destiny or fate even exists. For example, Matt was destined to be El Patron's clone, to be used for the old man's organs and then die. Vincent was destined to live his life as an invalid, cleaning the windows and sweeping the floors at Gattaca. As you can clearly tell both Matt and Vincent's futures were changed from their own determination to survive and to live how they wanted to. Both character's actions have reflected this theme, and have pushed the question about the existance of pre-destiny. For example, Vincent's swimming competitions with his younger and genetically refined brother, Anton. Once Vincent won his first game, it seemed as though he was better than somebody who was a "valid." This simple win in a sibling rivalry game of chicken fueled the inspiration for Vincent to believe that he could be just as good, if not better than many of those who were genetically modified. Perhaps there would be a job for him inside the glass doors of Gattaca. Then there is Matt, who has been the "one possession El Patron let slip through his fingers" (Farmer 246) and has evaded death with the help of Tam Lin and Celia. Even though Matt's fate was being merely a clone ready for harvesting, he had escaped and has now taken the place of El Patron as leader of Opium.
Another theme that is in both Gattaca and The House of the Scorpion is standing against discrimination. The novel and movie portrayed this theme well by the social circumstances that were set up. In both The House of the Scorpion and Gattaca there is somewhat of a disciminatory society. The story tellers in Gattaca use this society to help emphasize how different their world is to ours today. Using terms such as: "invalid" and "valid" in the film in order to emphasize the clear difference from the higher more supreme to the lesser and genetically inferior. In The House of the Scoprion clones are looked at as disgusting, many humans even avoid talking to clones because they are often mindless and it's almost embarrassing to associate with such a lowly group. Even though Matt has an undamaged (and even in some aspects, superior) brain many people still treat and see him as a mindless, slobbering idiot. This idea of immediate prejudice towards somebody for how they were born is incredibly evident in Rosa and Matt's relationship. "'[Matt's] a sullen, evil-tempered animal' [Rosa] said." (Farmer 43) However, as Tam Lin says, "'No one can tell the difference between a clone and a human. That's because there isn't any difference. The ida of clones being inferior is a filthy lie.'" (Farmer 245) Unlike in Gattaca, The House of the Scorpion views the genetically altered as an underclass, however the themes of discrimination still run strong between the movie and novel. Matt and Vincent both try to define "what is a human?"