We have had a lot of heart to heart conversations with one another. We’ve told each other secrets and shared stories with one another that we rarely share with anyone else. There is an intimacy to that sort of relationship and it sometimes can be found in books too. I found it in this chapter of the Cider House Rules.
One thing I appreciate on a massive level is the treatment on the topic of abortion this book provides. It isn’t some black and white back and forth argument (as the movie seemed if I remember correctly…I should probably re-watch that). This chapter in particular centered in on the idea that abortion is extremely complicated and thus should be treated with the same complicated analysis. Wilbur Larch performs abortions because of the backstory given to us in Chapter 2 of this book. He believes it is the right thing to do and he feels women have the right to make a choice. Yet at the same time, he doesn’t impose his views on young Homer. He knows the complicated nature of abortion and wants Homer to come to his own decision. All Larch wants to do is educate him. This gives the novel a layer of complexity that I very much appreciate.
As I said, I don’t remember the film doing this. As I recall, the film sort of pinned Larch and Homer against one another. It was as if we were waiting to see who would win in the end, and that is not a good way to treat this subject. That being said, perhaps I should watch the movie again before making these statements.
I love reading about how capable Homer is. Watching him work and perform medical tasks well was almost like a parent being proud of a child. I know that sounds weird, especially as someone who has never had children. But this book has given us the entire story of Homer’s life. We as readers have watched him grow. It seems only fair that we feel this way because perhaps the books desires that.
We are also introduced to some new characters in this chapter, specifically Candy and Wally. That part was okay. I always seem to have trouble when new characters are introduced far into a book. I kinda like the original characters and want to stick with them. It is safe to say that I don’t always take change very well. But one thing I loved when reading about Candy and Wally’s hometown is the apple orchard stuff. There is an image of small town America, disconnected from the world that rings from those passages and I adore it!
But the standout moment of this chapter, for me, was the ending. It was just so beautiful. Obviously, I have to type it out for you…
The oil lamp didn’t project very far into the darkness, and the wind was strong, which was unusual for St. Cloud’s. When the wind blew out the lamp, the doctor and his assistant saw that they were backlit by the light shining from the window of Nurse Angela’s office. It was the only light for miles around, and it made their shadows gigantic. Larch’s shadow reached across the stripped, unplanted plot of ground, up the barren hillside, all the way into the black woods. Homer Well’s shadow touched the dark sky. It was only then that both men noticed: Homer had grown taller than Dr. Larch.
“I’ll be damned,” Larch muttered, spreading his arms, so that his shadow looked like a magician about to reveal something. Larch flapped his arms like a big bat. “Look!” he said to Homer. “I’m a sorcerer.”
Homer Wells, the sorcerer’s apprentice, flapped his arms, too.
The wind was very strong and fresh. The usual density in the air above St. Cloud’s had lifted; the stars shone bright and cold; the memory of cigar smoke and sawdust was missing from this new air.
“Feel that wind,” said Homer Wells; maybe the wind was keeping him [awake].
“It’s a wind coming from the coast,” Wilbur Larch said; he sniffed deeply, for traces of salt. It was a rare sea breeze, Larch was sure.
Wherever it’s from, it’s nice, Homer Wells decided.
Both men stood sniffing the wind. Each man thought: What is going to happen to me?
I love moments like this. They are so simple yet carry so much weight. I could never grow tired of reading that passage. It feels nostalgic in a way I can’t quite explain. Essentially, they are a moment of intimacy. I love when books give us these glimpses.
Until next time, friend. Danielle.