The Struggle for Acceptance in The Cider House Rules Essay

The Struggle for Acceptance in The Cider House Rules Essay

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The Struggle for Acceptance in The Cider House Rules

   In The Cider House Rules, John Irving brings the orphan Homer Wells to vivid life in a rather unusual way.  Homer’s life and existence are part of a large symbolic link to the actual book itself.  Homer’s life as an orphan struggling for acceptance and to “Be of Use” is shadowed by The Cider House Rules struggle for acceptance in the mass literary market and its need to purvey its views on abortion.


      After writing his first few books, Irving was left disappointed that although the literary critics embraced them, for the general masses his books fell on deaf ears.  (Hill 250) Unfortunately it is the general case that the masses and the elite are not in agreement on what is worth reading.  With this in mind, Irving set out writing The Cider House Rules with the intent of reaching not only the critics but the general populace as well.  Similarly, Homer starts life accepted only within the narrow confines of the orphanage he has grown up in.  His first several attempts have ended with failure, leaving Homer only the comfort of familiar arms.  When Homer sets out several years later, with the maturity of one who has stared life’s failures and unwanted, he hits the world head on and starts to make gradual steps toward full acceptance.


      If asked, Irving will flatly deny that he had any ulterior motives in the creation of The Cider House Rules.  He will claim that the thought of abortion did not even enter the picture until he was well into the process. (Twayne’s 12)  However, like Homer, this book was purposefully designed with abortion on the mind of the nurturer.   Homer’s Dr Larch is a man who feels morally obliged to ...

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...cs of storytelling in John Irving's 'The Cider House Rules.'." Style 15 July 1998. 1 Apr. 2003 <>.

DeMott, Benjamin. "Guilt and Compassion." New York Times Book Review 26 May 1985: : I25. 

Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield. N.p.: n.p., 1849. 

Hill, Jane B. "John Irving's Aesthetics of Accessibility: Setting Free the Novel." The South Carolina Review 16 (1983): 38-44. 

Irving, John . The World According to Garp. New York: Ballantine Books, 1982. 

Lewis, Roger. "Larger than Life." New Statesman 109 (1985)

McFadden, Maria. "The Cider House Rules - Not!" Human Life Review 2000. 13 Apr. 2003 <>.

The Cider House Rules. New York: Ballantine Books, 1985. 

Weinkopf, Chris. "The Cider House Rots." Human Life Review 2000. 13 Apr. 2003 <>.

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