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Referred to as his "most didactic novel", Cider House (1985) is John Irving's sixth published work. It centers around the story of Homer Wells, an orphan in the Maine town of St. Cloud's, and his caretakers: the resident doctor and head of the boy's division, Dr. Wilbur Larch, and his two aides, Nurse Angela and Nurse Edna. Dr. Larch raises Homer and trains him in obstetrics, but Homer is reluctant due to his mentor's performance of illegal abortions at the hospital, which Homer is morally opposed to. The novel highlights the importance of personal convictions and purpose and weighs the two sides of the abortion debate.
The book was made into a movie in 1999, starring Michael Caine and Tobey Maguire.
The Cider House Rules provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation - The film leaves out quite a bit of the story.
- Bury Your Gays: Melony.
- But We Used a Condom - Wally and Candy used a condom which turns out to have been sabotaged. Later, Homer and Candy..
- Catch Phrase: "Goodnight, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England."
- Celibate Hero - Dr. Larch.
- Fastest Gun in the West - Mr. Rose, with his knife.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion - Averted with Candy and Wally, but later played straight with Candy and Homer.
- Michael Caine - Won an Oscar for his portrayal of Dr. Larch.
- Orphanage of Love
- Pinball Protagonist - Homer, throughout parts of the novel.
- Parental Incest - Mr. Rose and his daughter, Rose Rose.
- Repetitive Name - Rose Rose.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them - Mr. Rose's opinion of the Cider House rules.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right - Dr. Larch's decision to perform illegal abortions at St. Cloud's.
- Sink-or-Swim Fatherhood - Dr. Larch's situation after Homer's final adoption failure.