I have so far been very good at keeping notes with my thoughts on this book, but it seems that I slacked when it came to this third chapter for I can find no written record that I actually read it. Therefore what can I really say on it? It is a challenge recollecting these chapters because they hold so much content and on top of that they are not structured as one expects from a typical narrative. The chapters jump all over the place, with one fluid theme, but jumps non-the-less. Fortunately, when your brain fails you, there is the interwebs.
The title of this chapter is easily my favorite chapter title. The hints to royalty and boyhood are very romantic. In the chapter, Dr. Larch takes to saying these words to the orphans every night before bed. “Good night you Princes of Maine, you Kings of New England.” What is funny is that, shortly after I finished reading this chapter, I traveled to a friends house for the weekend. As we all went upstairs for bed, drunk on each other’s company and playing Cards Against Humanity, my one friend chimed, “Good night you Princes of Maine, you Kings of New England.” I was just entering the guest bedroom but had to turn around at these words. Ironically, the book happened to be in my hand (this is because we were going to play another game involving books but ended up running out of time) and so I pulled it up from against my hip so that it was in front of my face. “Have you read this?” I cried, not thinking him to be a big reader. He would go on to tell me that he was in the stage crew for a production of the Cider House Rules play. In truth, I never knew there was one. Funny.
With the help of my trusty plot summary website, I have caught up on the general plot elements of this chapter. Keeping on with the romanticism of the title, Homer Wells often viewed Dr. Larch as a King, and he was Larch’s Prince. This hints at the growing relationship between the two. Larch never finds need to care much for the orphan’s in the way a parent loves their child, but he notices he has a very strong connection with Homer. Perhaps it is Homer’s inability to actually leave the orphanage that fuses this bond.
This is also the chapter where Homer first begins reading a loud to the other orphans. I must admit, I love Homer’s obsession with reading. He even begins reading to the girls division, except there he reads Jane Eyre, a book he does not at first enjoy but comes to enjoy after certain experiences like witnessing a live birth and his time with another orphan named Melony.
Melony is a character I can’t say I am too fond of at this point. She is interesting enough, for sure. But she is a bully. I know that if I were around her, I would be afraid of her. She has a lot of issues and I’m genuinely interested to see where this book takes her, if it takes her anywhere or if we will actually see her again. She makes Homer promise not to leave the orphanage without her. I have a sinking feeling that he will leave without her. How can the book not go this way? It is handing that plot point to us on a silver platter.
There is a lot of sexual “tension” between Melony and Homer in this chapter, more on her end than his. Of course, all coming of age stories have got to have the introduction to sex bits. And I usually enjoy these scenes, I won’t lie. But John Irving takes them to another level. I was kind of repulsed by the end of it all. The whole thing with the picture of the woman and the pony was…weird. Intriguing for sure, but weird. I was happy to see how Larch handled everything when he found this pornography underneath Homer’s pillow. I just wish he wasn’t under the influence of ether when he had to talk to Homer.
When I woke up this morning, it was bright and sunny outside. Long has it been since the sun has made it difficult for me to drive to work. I had to put my visor down on top of wearing sunglasses. To my dismay, upon leaving work it was cloudy. Oh winter, how I hate you. My fingers grow cold as I clutch this big book but alas I read on. As do you.
Until next time, friend. Danielle.