Our purpose of watching Gattaca was to compare the protagonist of the movie (Vincent) to the protagonist of The House of the Scorpion (Matt). I will be talking about the main similarities and contrasting differences I saw between them.
The first thing I noticed in the movie was that Vincent grew up in the shadow of another, always being reminded that he was never good enough. I saw similarities to this in how Matt grew up- always being reminded that he was a “filthy clone” and was growing up in the shadow of El Patron’s “greatness”. While both were very gifted intellectually, a key difference I saw between the two protagonists was their different levels of confidence and arrogance. Vincent had built up his confidence throughout his success of infiltrating Gattaca but quickly became very arrogant and was careless with some of his actions (i.e. the swimming competition between Vincent and his brother). However much Matt succeeded or proved people wrong, they all treated him as scum and he believed it saying quote “… the Alacrans will have me put to sleep like an old dog. I’m a clone in case you’ve forgotten. I’m livestock.” (Page 366). This personality trait could have easily foiled Vincent’s master plan, whereas it helped Matt’s character prevail throughout the novel.
Throughout the stories, I think that their (Matt and Vincent’s) drive to impress others and to achieve their goals is an important similarity. Matt excels in school and teaches himself musical instruments, something no one would expect of a clone. Vincent also works hard to increase and to maintain his physical strength and intellectual capacity throughout his work at Gattaca- no one would expect an invalid like Vincent to infiltrate Gattaca. I think the biggest difference between Vincent and Matt is how Matt was unintentionally El Patron (genetically) whereas Vincent forced himself to become Jerome through complex schemes- and this was where Vincent almost got caught. Matt contained EL Patrons DNA and was actually him physically (he used this both to return to Opium and to escape it). An eyelash- just a simple eyelash- was almost Vincent’s downfall and the thing to end his dream.
Both of the characters overcame the odds and proved everyone who doubted them wrong. Both clones and invalids were looked down upon and resented in the societies the characters are placed in. We learn from both Matt and Vincent that social class/stature in society is only a projection and anyone (despite their disadvantages) can prevail and achieve their goals/their true purpose. Both Vincent and Matt end off their stories with finding their destiny.