Characteristic of Matt in the Lord of the Opium Novel

Published: 2021-06-30 17:00:05
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To the majority of people, being successful means to have a well-paying job, a home, and a family. For Matt Alacran from The Lord of the Opium by Nancy Farmer, to be successful means to maintain his powerful position of a drug lord in Opium, a country in the Dope Confederacy which was formed on the border on the United States and Mexico. The confederacy was formed as an agreement between drug lords and the United States and Mexico; the drug lords will not distribute drugs to the border countries and any illegal immigrants caught can be forced to work in any of the counties in the Dope Confederacy. The United States and Mexico do not have to worry about drugs being distributed in their land and the drug lords get free labor to work their factories and farms. Matt inherited his position when he was only fifteen years old. The prequel to The Lord of the Opium has won numerous awards such as the U.S National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. After reading the book, one may infer that Matt is powerful, ambitious, and righteous.
What Matt can do is practically limitless because of his position, a drug lord in control of the largest country in the Dope Confederacy. On page twenty, he describes how he is qualified to run Opium to establish his authority. The book states, “I kept my eyes and ears open when El Patron discussed the business with his heirs. I know the trade routes, the distribution points, who to bribe, and who to threaten. El Patron himself taught me how to intimidate enemies and how to recruit bodyguards from distant countries because they wouldn’t be as likely to betray you.” El Patron is the former leader of Opium who taught Matt how to run the country. He died, and the power rests on Matt. Matt is telling someone his knowledge that he learned from El Patron because the more he knows, the more powerful he seems. After all, knowledge is power. There are more instances in the book where it shows Matt’s power. For example, on page twenty-six and twenty-seven, His advisor tells Patrolmen who patrol the borders of the country that if they don’t treat Matt with respect, he’ll have them “cockroached”. Cockroaching is a torture method developed by El Patron to provoke fear in those who serve him. After saying that, the book states, “From the alarmed expressions on the men’s faces, he guess that it was a serious threat.” He is creating fear in the men, showing his power and that the fact he is not afraid to harm them. Because of his position in Opium, he completely controls all exports of opium, which is in very high demand. Matt decides to stop all exports in order to raise the demand of opium even higher, gaining him more power and wealth. seen on page fifty-six. “The only way to stop the loss of men and money, Matt decides, is to stop all exports to starve drug dealers of their beloved opium.” The demand for opium skyrockets, along with his power. Matt can close all opium exports means that he controls the majority of the drug market, causing him to be extremely powerful. Many people that are powerful, such as Matt, are usually ambitious because of their wealth and determination to succeed.One may infer after reading the book that Matt is ambitious due to his wealth and power. When he is told that something is near-impossible, Matt continues because he knows he can do it. This is seen on page thirty-five, when he is told that it is impossible to cure eejits. Eejits are people who have microchips implanted in their brain to blunt their intelligence, making them docile and obedient slaves. The microchips form a network and spread across the brain. Matt is told that removing the microchips is like “Trying to find the right grains of sand on a beach.” (p.35) Despite this, Matt pushes on to try to reverse the process and make the eejits normal people. Later in the book on page sixty-two, the author writes, “ ‘You won’t find any doctors to dare aid you in your ridiculous quest. El Patron poisoned all those doctors. If you found a doctor, then good luck paying him enough to convince him to come here.’ Matt replied back in anger, ‘I don’t care. I will spend as much as it takes and nothing will stop me.” Although it took a while, Matt convinced 200 doctors and nurses to go to Opium to work on finding a cure. Again, Matt continues to try to reverse the process even though his own advisor tells him that no one will help him. On page 104, Matt plans to take down the entire drug empire after realizing the terrible effects on the society of the United States and Mexico. His advisor says, “Are you crazy? This plan is a deathwish. There must be another another way.” Matt declares war on the rival drug countries and loses most of the people in Opium, including his loved ones. In the face of defeat and loss, he manages to take control of the countries and accomplished his main goal: Stop the majority of drug production and trade. One would predict that someone with that much power and ambition would turn corrupt. However, this is not the case.
Many of Matt’s decisions may seem unusual for a drug lord because all of his decisions are righteous. One of his decisions is to find out how to take over a drug rival’s bordered land. Matt can order his powerful and well-trained army to go in there and kill thousands of people, but he chose to drain the land of supplies because Opium gave the land a constant supply of food, water, and other goods. This decision prevented many deaths. This was seen on page seventy-two when Matt says. “I can’t just kill innocent people. I can’t…” Matt is later faced with the decision on page 210 of either to leave the wealthy and powerful drug lord life or become an average joe. After shutting down the drug empire, he is asked what he will do next. Matt replies, “Now that I’ve freed the eejits and making the right decision, he choose to leave the drug life, thinking that no one should have the power he had.” (p.211) Matt, being powerful, has gotten into arguments before. In one of his arguments, he disagrees with a worker and they both get into a fight, seen on page 142. The worker later is in a weakened state due to an illness and Matt has had every chance to kill him out of anger. He thinks what he should do on page 156 which states, “I saw him on the bed, his face pale. How dare he question my authority! He was weak. I can end his life right now but I mustn’t. I am better than this and I am better than El Patron.” However, he decides to keep his temper.
After reading The Lord of the Opium Nancy Farmer, one can say that Matt is powerful, ambitious, and righteous. Matt is powerful because of his wealth and position in Opium, a country in the drug-based land of the Dope Confederacy. He can be described as ambitious by how he reacts when something is an obstacle to him. Many of the decisions that Matt makes are righteous because they are selfless and is based on what is right and what is wrong. In conclusion, Matt is a character in The Lord of the Opium who is the protagonist and because of his actions, he can be described as a righteous, wealthy and powerful drug lord.

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