Cider House Rules Is Very Interesting English Literature Essay

Eric Gibson

Phil 3350

The Cider House Rules is a very interesting story which involves a few different dilemmas set forth in the medical field, as well as life in general. The lot tugs on the hearts of the viewer because it depicts love and pain so greatly throughout the movie. There are many issues that arise in the movie, and the characters have to make some tough decisions on how to handle those problems.

The movie begins at an orphanage in a town of Maine called St Clouds during World War II. The resident doctor there, Doctor Larch begins as the protagonist. Speaking of the newly recently born little boy named Homer Wells. Homer leaves with one family but is soon returned because he is too quite. The next family that adopts him learns how to make him less quite, and that is by beating him. Dr. Larch then takes him back to the orphanage where Homer is taught medical procedures as he grows up. Dr. Larch runs the orphanage as a place for women to go if they have unwanted pregnancies. The women can choose to either have an abortion or to give up their child to the orphanage. Dr. Larch is very avid about his profession because he feels that he is giving women a service that is necessary. He believes that women should have the choice on whether to keep their babies or not. Dr. Larch is also addicted to ether, and uses it as a way to get high, along with being a stress reliever for him. Homer grows up learning all about how to deliver a baby and how to perform an abortion from Dr. Larch. Homer is also personally against abortions because he feels that people should take responsibility for their actions, although he does not mind it that Dr. Larch performs them. He does, however, not like it when Dr. Larch wants him to perform abortions. This raises a very important ethical issue for Homer, and

One day a couple by the name of Candy and Wally come to the orphanage to get an abortion performed. Wally becomes close with Wally and asks if he can go with them when they leave. Wally does not have a problem with it and takes him to his mother’s house on an apple orchard where Homer will have a job picking apples and making cider. This makes Homer very happy to be able to have a job and be on his own for the first time in his life. Homer works with migrant workers, the main "boss" being Mr. Rose. Mr. Rose has a daughter that works with them too, her name is Rose Rose. Wally leaves soon after that to go back to war in Burma. Homer had always secretly had feelings for Candy and once Wally leaves, he finds that she has the same feelings as well. While Wally is gone, they start a relationship, a lot of which is Candy teaching him about things he has never experienced before, such as the ocean and lobsters. She also takes him to see movies, since it is a great interest of his. It seems as though movie watching is a great release for Homer and makes him very happy. Their relationship blossoms, and Homer is the happiest he has even been in his life. He helps Candy and her father catch lobsters so they can be sold for profit. Candy and Homer also share many intimate moments together. Throughout This time, Dr. Larch sends him letters explaining to him that being a doctor, and more importantly his replacement, is the best thing for him. Dr. Larch thinks that he is throwing away his talents as a person trained in the medical field to become an apple picker. Homer explains to him that he does not want to play God, meaning that he does not want the responsibility to have to take a chance and wind up hurting or killing a patient. Dr. Larch at this time also forges medical credentials on behalf of Homer so that the board he has to answer to will choose Homer as a replacement. This goes to show how Dr. Larch is constantly straddling the line of ethics; but in his mind, he is making the decisions that are necessary and for the well-being of everyone.

It is at this time that Rose Rose begins to stop eating in the morning and is frequently sick in the morning as well. Homer realizes that she is pregnant and confronts her about her problem. He offers to take her to St. Clouds to get an abortion or at least to deliver and give up her child. Homer tells Candy about the pregnancy who in turns confronts Rose and explains to her that she was pregnant before and had an abortion to get rid of it. Rose then hints to her that Mr. Rose is the father of her child and that he raped her. Candy becomes extremely upset and tells Homer, who then confronts Mr. Rose and tells him that she is pregnant. The next day, a soldier from the military comes to the house to notify the family that Wally’s plane was shot down in Burma and that he suffered from an infection which leads him to be paralyzed from the waist down. This brings about the end of Candy and Homer’s loving relationship because she feels that she has let Wally down and she realizes that she still loves him. Upon returning home that same night, Homer finds Rose and Mr. Rose arguing at the house. He tries to resolve the conflict by telling them he is a doctor and can perform an abortion. Rose and Mr. Rose agree and the abortion is done with in the stable. Homer has always been against abortions and has said that women should take responsibility but seeing Rose being pregnant because she was raped by her father changes his mind. He thinks that the abortion is needed because of the circumstances, which is what Dr. Larch has always contested. A few days later, Rose runs away. Homer then discovers Mr. Rose in the stable bleeding from a stab wound. Rose had stabbed him but he insists that the police think that he committed suicide. Homer receives a letter the next day explaining that Dr. Larch had accidently overdosed on his beloved ether and that he had passed away. Homer is very upset and has a change of heart about being Dr. Larch’s replacement. He returns to the orphanage and takes the role that Dr. Larch had been performing for many years, He is also very happy about being in that situation.

In The Cider House Rules, the title explains why the movie was set up the way it was and why the sequence of events occurred. The rules at the cider house were put up by the owners of the apple orchard. They were repetitive and even random rules to follow. Mr. Rose makes the point of saying that those are not the rules that the workers needed to follow, that those rules were not for them. I think that puts the perspective of the whole movie in the spotlight, people will go their own way and do what they want to do. The workers never followed the cider house’s rules, therefore expressing their individuality and less concern for what other people think. I believe that this is one of the reasons why Homer is able to leave the orphanage and set out to do what he wants. Nothing he does really ever has any consequences for him. He leaves the orphanage knowing that he is hurting the children who are there because they look up to him. He then is given a job to him by his friend Wally, whom he later turns his back on by entering an intimate relationship with his Candy. Then when he doesn’t want to face the reality of the situation anymore, he conveniently goes back to the orphanage. He seems to be running from his fears and it always works out for him without him ever having to deal with any consequences. He hurts so many people during this process, but at the same time is portrayed to be a character that people should have sympathy for.

This movie brings up some questions about medical ethics and principles. Dr. Larch runs an orphanage that specifically deals in abortions. It is something that happens so often that it seems to not affect him in the least bit. Abortions during this time are illegal and therefore he is risking his license to perform these surgeries. He believe that women should have a choice on whether to have an abortion because people make mistakes, and unwanted pregnancies can cause a hardship on people. The ethics behind an abortion, especially in the 1940’s, was highly debated; most doctors would say that abortions were murder and horrible acts upon a fetus. This is an issue that Homer needed to deal with. Dr. Larch constantly tried to get Homer to perform abortions while he was his assistant at the orphanage. Homer too had to deal with this issue of whether it was ethical or not. It was illegal at the time but what is more important was that he felt that women should be more responsible and that life should not be able to be taken away by a doctor. It is strange that he feels that it was alright for Dr. Larch to perform the abortions instead of him, but I think that it was so that he did not have to feel the guilt that came with the procedure. Homer is then faced with this ethics issue later in the movie when dealing with Rose. He sees that she was not responsible for her pregnancy and in fact, she was raped. I think he saw her pregnancy in such a different light than the others from the orphanage because it was personal, and both Mr. Rose and Rose were close to him. He then let down his own principles and questions of ethics and gave in and performed an abortion. It almost seems like it liberated him to help somebody with such a hard thing to deal with.

Another question of ethics brought up in the movie is again, the actions of Dr. Larch. He let Homer deliver babies and perform other medical procedures when he was not licensed or certified. This is completely unethical because the patients did not have the informed consent that the person working on them was not a real doctor. If that happened today, both people would probably be thrown in jail. Also, Dr. Larch forges documentation for Homer stating that he is an accomplished doctor. This is completely unethical as well. Doctors are supposed to be held in high regards and are supposed to stick to a code of ethics, lying about someone’s qualifications is despicable on the part of Dr. Larch. I think people who work in the medical field could watch this movie and think a little harder about how they act when confronted with questions of ethics. In fairness, Dr. Larch thought what he was doing was the right thing. He truly believed that women should have a choice and that he was helping them, and that he was also helping Homer. I also think that it goes to show how the law was not working very well back in those days when it came to abortion. Laws today are very strict about who can perform abortions, but back then it was illegal everywhere. With so many people knowing that they could go to the orphanage to get an abortion, the law should have taken notice and shut the orphanage down for committing illegal acts.

I think another part of humanities that is displayed in the movie is therapy. We had talked about creative writing as being a source of therapy and outlet for patients. I think that there are two things represented in the movie that account to something similar. The first one being Dr. Larch’s ether addiction. Even though addictions are a horrible thing and obviously do more harm than good, I think it can still be considered therapy for Dr. Larch. He sees horrible sights while performing abortions and I think he needs an outlet to relieve all the stress from the procedures, his outlet is ether. Another form of therapy that is not highlighted so well in the movie but I think is still worthy of taking note is Homers love of movies. I think that movies are an outlet for him; they let him escape reality and relieve any stress that is going on in his life. He explained to Candy that movie night at the orphanage was his favorite night, even though they watched the same movie every time. Then, when he went and saw a movie with Candy in the theater, he was much less interested in being intimate with candy than he was watching the movie and forgetting about everything else in the world.

This movie was great; it really showed some questions that can arise when dealing with ethics. It shows that even though some ethical questions are confronted, they can go either way when it comes to making the right decision. I think the questions that were brought up in this movie about ethics all defied what most doctors would do in that situation. That being said, the choices that were made seemed to benefit others and were truly done in the best interest of the patients and others around them.