The Cider House Rules, by John Irving, is the story of Homer Wells, an orphan who challenges throughout his years as a child and adulthood to find his place in life. It chronicles his personal quest to becoming a hero to others and eventually himself. Abortion becomes the crucible of his life to find out where external ethic or personal opinion should be the arbiter of fate. Through his very personal story he concludes that he'll take fee of his own destiny and allow others to do the same. This essay will explore this seminal work and its weighty themes and conclude with applications that may be made to midwifery and women's healthcare.
The subject of John Irving's reserve, The Cider House Guidelines, comes from a set of rules published in the cider house of Sea View apple orchard. The guidelines were posted by Olive Worthington every year for the seasonal workers to check out, even though they could not read. The rules instructed the staff to refrain from certain habits, such as functioning the grinder while intoxicated, smoking in bed, and sitting on the cider house roof structure while drinking (Irving, 1985, p. 272). However, the rules were often busted by the employees, including the manager, Mr. Rose.
The rules placed at the apple orchard are a metaphor for the rules set by contemporary society, and much more specifically to the guidelines against abortion. Through the early twentieth-century, abortions were illegal in America. The idea the writer is making is that even though there are rules created by world, individuals often change or create their own set of rules in which they ultimately react and live. Through the entire narrative of the novel, abortion sometimes appears as a intricate set of rules the individuals of the storyline placed for themselves. This note details to the moral with the Cider House Guidelines; every person must define their own personal ethic in order to do what is right. Although contemporary society prescribes a set of rules, ultimately, each individual must decide how they are to act and live.
This is clearly seen in the life of Dr. Weber Larch, the creator and director of St. Cloud's orphanage and an abortionist. Despite the government's constraints on abortion services, Larch used his own group of rules and performed abortions. Although nearly all personas in the book believed that providing infants was the "Lord's work" and executing abortions was the "devil's work", Larch, believed these two seemingly incongruous services were both the "Lord's work" (Irving, 1985, p. 75). Larch emerged to this summary after witnessing the loss of life of Mrs. and Neglect Eames. Both women would have survived if abortion had been legal and affordable. Larch expresses, "I'm just the doctor. I help them have what they need. An orphan or an abortion " (Irving, 1985, p. 513). Larch firmly believed that the federal government should not control abortion and that women should have the freedom to decide whether to truly have a baby or an abortion.
Opposed to Larch was Homer Wells, an orphan who becomes Larch's protege. Larch wanted Homer to follow in his course as an obstetrician and abortionist. Homer, however, refused to perform abortions because he assumed it got the soul of a baby (Irving, 1985, p. 82). Homer's unwillingness to do something against his own conscious leads Larch to argue,
If abortions were legal, you may refuse- in fact, given your beliefs, you should refuse. But as long as they're against the law, how can you refuse?. . . How will you refuse individuals who are not free to get other help? You must help them because you understand how. (Irving, 1985, p. 488)
Homer's have difficulty of accomplishing an immoral act out of benevolence is the moral dilemma posed by the story. Toward the finish of the novel, however, Homer breaks his own rules to carry out what he believes is right. When Homer learns that Dr. Larch has died and Rose Rose, who have been impregnated by her own father, is looking for an abortion, he realizes that he is the only person who may help her. Homer could not refuse Rose Rose the abortion, and for that reason, could no more justify refusing other ladies in need. Although Homer will not fully embrace his role as abortionist (as evidenced by her interview with the mother board as Fuzzy Stone), by the end of the book, Homer decides to return to St. Cloud's to do both Lord's and the Devil's work. Homer continues to believe that an unborn fetus is a living human being, but comes to the knowing that women must have the to personal choice and should have control of her own body.
When Homer finally takes over Larch's work of delivering babies and "delivering moms" (Irving, 1985, p. 75), he becomes the hero to Rose Rose and other ladies in need of abortions. Homer areas, "Whether I will turn out to be the hero of my very own life, or whether that station will be kept by anybody else, these web pages must show" (Irving, 1985, p. 79). Homer involves the realization that how he lives his life as an obstetrician and abortionist is his singular decision. Homer makes a decision to set aside his beliefs of life to become a hero in somebody else's life. To be a hero is to create aside your personal beliefs and use your knowledge and talents to help those in need no subject the opposition or difficulty.
Irving also details after other issues relevant to reproductive and general health. The author not only demonstrates how safe abortions can save lives, however the Channing-Peabody's also illustrate that women in need of abortion services mix all sociable and class restrictions (Irving, 1985, p. 74). Many women in this history are also victims of horrific abuse. For instance, Rose Rose was in physical form and sexually abused by her own dad, Arthur Rose. Despite the fact that other apple pickers knew that Rose Rose had been raped by her daddy, no-one stepped directly into help. That is a sober reminder of the mistreatment many patients experience. Healthcare providers must remember that maltreatment crosses all racial, interpersonal, and financial backgrounds, and patients must be given sensitive good care.
Health treatment providers also need to understand that choosing abortion is not a fairly easy decision to make. Abortions are rarely "elective", meaning that difficult and complicated decisions factor into what a woman chooses on her behalf life and future. Larch believed that only strong women possessed abortions. These women needed to be strong enough to choose if to keep carefully the baby, to break regulations, and be ostracized by contemporary society. In the storyline, the ladies who made the long journey to St. Cloud's for an abortion often arrived alone, isolated, without support.
Furthermore, the moral dilemma posed by the story will certainly surface in my own role as a women's health professional. Much like Homer, I believe life begins at fertilization, so when a healthcare provider, I must determine how I will practice. The existing setting has evolved from that in the publication. In the United States, there is currently usage of safe and affordable abortion services. Consequently, the way that I will try to handle this issue is by delivering all possibilities to a patient, and allow her to choose what journey is right on her behalf.
The information and themes throughout The Cider House Guidelines will undoubtedly help out with my profession as a midwife in understanding the complicated, multi-factorial, and frequently painful experiences of the ladies I care for. It is a classic high calling to have the ability to serve the susceptible in their time of seeming most vulnerability. The regulations and process of justice in our society while meant to protect the weak often serve only to further distance them from positions of electric power and self-determination. We should empower women to be all they can be. The decisions that they make are close, fraught with difficulty and sometimes conflicted. We should not trivialize or marginalize them for the decisions they make whether they conflict with this own values. Our calling is to look after all who come through our entry doors whatever the competition, socioeconomic position or creed. Our care may be specific but it is always sacred.