Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cider House Rules: Characters Moral Dilemmas

The Cider House Rules is full of intense moral conflict. Conflict that still is a highly debated issue in society today, abortion. The two main characters Dr. Larch and Homer Wells are constantly struggling with the morals involving abortion.  Dr. Larch, being prochoice, upon seeing all the unwanted children he delivers at his orphanage, try’s to shine the light on the goodness of prochoice. Homer, an orphan himself, makes a home at the orphanage and is almost a son figure to Dr. Larch. After learning a lot about delivering babies and helping at the orphanage Dr. Larch wants to teach him his practice of performing abortion properly.
This causes the ethical debate between the two. Although, Homer finally transforms to see the positives of abortions near the end of the novel. Homer was very uncomfortable with abortions but never thought Dr. Larch was a bad man. Homer’s character completely contradicts my belief that your environment shapes your morals. I was proven wrong by Homer’s feelings towards abortion. Homer believed it is wrong and that every child deserves a chance to live. You can sense that he is uncomfortable about abortion. Being raised in this environment where abortions are daily occurrence you would think Homer wouldn’t be opposed to it. The most powerful side of Homer is shown when he actually performs his first abortion on Rose Rose. He saw that this poor, innocent, tortured girl needed his help. And for the first time he didn’t care what he was doing, he believed it was right. Rose Rose, who was sexually abused by her father, was impregnated with her fathers child. This gruesome situation led Homer to become a strong moral person. He realized that bringing that child into the world would be remorseful and strange. As bad as abortion is portrayed some women need an escape. Homer realizes that is wasn’t about the ethical issue, it was really about helping someone in need, and he had the skill to do that.
When Homer is away at the orchard going about his business and he makes a call to the orphanage to talk to Larch he is informed he is dead. This devastates him. “He knew what Larch would have told him: that his happiness was not the point or that it wasn’t as important as his usefulness” (Irving 576). I believe this sentence perfectly describes Larch’s moral compass. Larch wasn’t concerned with the acceptance of society but what he could do for people with his skills. “Wilbur Larch would have told him there was no such thing as playing a little God: when you were willing to play God-at all- you played a lot”(Irving 582). This is insightful line describes how Dr. Larch lived. He knew he has the ultimate power and he has the skill to help these woman, and he did. He played God, good or bad. He had the power and used it to help. “After the first one, thought Homer Wells, this might get easier. Because he knew now that he couldn’t play God in the worst sense: if he could operate on Rose Rose, how could he refuse to help a stranger? How could he refuse anyone? Only a god makes that kind of decision. I’ll just give them what they want, he thought. An orphan or an abortion” (Irving 583).  Homer now suddenly evolves in Larchs mind set. He realizes what impact he can have on women and he simply does his job. John Irving does a brillant job showing how these characters deal with morality by testing them in some of the toughest of situations.

8 comments:

  1. Sally,
    Good job! Abortion is still such a controversial subject. The differant views of this subject you wrote about really made me think. Although I personally don't agree with everything said, you did a great job in explaining it. Also great use of quotes!

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  2. That book sounds crazy and interesting! I wanted to read that book but it wasn't at the library when I went. That's intense that Rose was sexually abused by her father and impregnated with his child! I don't know if I could even deal with reading a book like that, it's sad! One question I'm sure people keep asking you, What is the cider house? Is it the place where the story takes place, like where they live?

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  3. Sally, good job using quotes and talking about the controversy of abortion, which is so often argued about. Maybe you could bring up the two different sides to abortion. While many believe it isn't morally right to get an abortion, there are occasions where someone might just really feel uncomfortable with the child they're having because maybe they were sexually abused.

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  4. I have the same views you do about the conflict between Dr. Larch and Homer. I also concentrated on the conflict of abortion on my blog and I feel like Homer's character also affected my views on abortion as well. What are your views on abortion? Do you believe that it is the "Devil's Work?"

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  5. Sally, your post uses a great debate! Fantastic word choice! Abortion is an extremely touchy subject to numerous people. Alot of people are strongly pro-abortion and just as many people are anti-abortion. It seems as though your characters had a great debate throughout this novel. Seems like a very intense and interesting story. I have two questions for you. Do you believe all abortions are moral, or in certain cases? Did Cider House Rules change your feelings towards abortion?

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  6. Kailey, very good question! Yes eventually, the Cider House is where Homer ends up going. This is where Rose rose and Mr. Rose live on the apple orchard. It is significant because this is where Homer runs into his moral dilemma and finally performs his first abortion

    Chandler, to tell you the truth. I just don’t know what my views are on abortion are. I tend not to be an extremely opinionated person. This controversial issue is something I can’t form judgment on others. I don’t form judgment on those who get abortions however I wish circumstances were better so those people didn’t have to resort to such a thing. I believe we need to prevent before we resort to devastating means.

    Alex, like I said to chandler, I can’t specify when and when I don’t think abortions are moral. If abortion could be one or the other it would probably be immoral obviously. However with circumstances permitting, it is what some feel as though they have to do. Like in the book when Rose Rose is pregnant with her father’s child, yes I absolutely find an abortion justified. There is so much controversy for a reason. I have to say I am pro choice however children are blessings and even if circumstances are bad you should have thought of that before you got pregnant. No Alex, Cider House Rules didn't change my views on abortion because the tiem period was a very diffrent life and culture. Alot of prosituition and not proper birth control.

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  7. It's great that you mentioned how abortion is still a conflict to this day, and was able to throw in your personal beliefs in this essay. You also state how you were proven wrong by how you viewed how morals are shaped. Your morals can't be proven wrong, but they can be seen differently by other people. In the book, Homer sees things differently from you do, and that is a very well thought-out statement.

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  8. Abortion is probably one of the most debatable topics out there, especially when it comes to the morality of it. And clearly you talked about the ethical debates between the characters, and you said that time period was different, when and where did this book take place? Obviously abortion has been a consistent ethical debate for quite some time.

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