This is my fifth literary theory post and seventh post on the Scorpion Project.
The first connection that I think is really important is child labour. The reason I say this is because in the La Vida Nueva section of the novel, Matt is sent to work at a Plankton Factory after crossing the border into Aztlan. At the factory, they enforce punishment with violence (such as whipping) and don't allow the boys to take any breaks, but force them to work constantly. The food they are given is disgusting plankton. In real life, child labour does unfortunately occur in certain places, and young children are forced to do difficult tasks in exchange for pretty much nothing. The connection between child labour in real life and the conditions at the Plankton Factory is very clear.
Another connection that is evident in the novel is arranged marriages, which are also apparent in the world today. In this novel, there are three arranged marriages that have or were supposed to occur. These marriages are Benito and Fani, Steven and Emilia, and Tom and Maria. The marriages are supposed to help to forge ties and allegiances on a more personal level with members of high authority in other countries. This still happens today, and happened more in the past, such as Renaissance times. The reason for the marriages is the same in both the novel and real life as well.
The last connection I want to make is the reference to the coyote (person not an animal). A coyote is someone who illegally smuggles immigrants across the border. The term "coyote" is used specifically for anyone smuggling immigrants from Mexico into the United States. In the novel, Celia remarks that a coyote was navigating them to the border, but ended up abandoning them and leading them straight into a trap (Farmer 142). This part of her story shows that many parts of the novel are based on fact, and Nancy Farmer has made an effort to connect her future world to our world today. Click here to see an interesting article from USA Today featuring multiple perspectives, and here is another news article on the topic.
Thanks for reading! I'll be posting my final literary theory post later today.