In the film Cider House Rules, rule breaking and deceit are somewhat justifiable acts that the characters use out of selfishness. Homer Wells is an orphan that grew up in an orphanage in Maine in the 1940s. The orphanage was directed by a man named Dr. Wilbur Larch. As Wells grew, Larch took the initiative to take him under his wing and teach him to be an unlicensed, skilled doctor. One ordinary day, Candy Kendall and Wally Worthington arrive at the orphanage for an illegal abortion. Once the procedure is over and they are ready to leave, Wells spontaneously asks for a ride to “anywhere”.Order now
Wells’ curiosity of the world leads him to new experiences. He begins working at an apple orchard where he lives under the “Cider House Rules”. Worthington is shipped off for war and leaves his fiance at home with Wells. The two begin a fling. Throughout the film Wells shows substantial growth as he is encounters many obstacles. At the end of the film, Wells returns back to the orphanage and takes over, Larch dies, and Candy and Wally remain together. One act of selfish deceit in the film was when Dr. Larch uses forgery to create a fake certificate for Homer as a doctor.
He wants to portray Homer as a specimen to take over the orphanage because he knew the change was inevitable. The motive behind Larch’s deceit was to maintain the morale the orphanage withheld, whether it was or was not actually moral. He feared that the choice of the new doctor by the board would be someone who would do away with abortions. Other reasoning, along with the way the children would be treated, was also on Larch’s mind when being deceitful. These reasons were justified internally for Dr. Larch.
Eric Fromm, a distinguished writer, psychoanalyst, philosopher, historian, and sociologist of the twentieth century, stated, “obedience to another person is ipso facto submission needs also to be qualified by distinguishing “irrational” from “rational” authority” (Fromm 126). Fromm proceeds to explain the difference between the two. “An example of rational authority is to be found in the relationship between student and teacher; one of irrational authority in the relationship between slave and master” (Fromm 126). This means that rational authority is the intention that the person under the authority will gain something from the rule.
Irrational authority is simply ruling over someone for personal gain. In this particular situation in the film, Dr. Larch is doing what he feels like is rational authoritative move. He is not necessarily in charge of Homer but he is trying to be. Larch feels that laying out a path for Homer would be beneficial for both of their futures. Another example of deceit in the film is when Candy and Homer have sex. Not only does this go against Homer’s initial idea of responsibility, but it also conflicts with the fact that Candy and Wally are in a relationship.
Candy, obviously overcome with guilt, in attempt to justify her actions says, “Wally knows I’m not good at being alone” (CHR). Homer’s attempt to clear his conscious lies in his words, “This is right” (CHR). Also, Homer seems to justify having impulsive sex with his love for Candy. “For the prophets, history is the place where man becomes human; during its unfolding he develops his powers of reason and of love until he creates a new harmony between himself, his fellow man, and nature” (Fromm 124).
Homer relates to Fromm’s claim because this is one of the first major acts of disobedience he presents. Homer having sex with Candy represents the feeling of him breaking out of ‘’inhuman harmony” and turning into an actual man. Mr. Rose, a supporting role in the film, was an orchard worker who Homer lived with. Mr. Rose had a daughter, Rose, that he raped. Rose became pregnant. After building up the courage to leave, she ran away from the cider house. According to Mr.
Rose his daughter was armed with a sharp knife and as he reached out to simply “touch her hand before she left”, she stabbed his stomach. He then proceeded to ask Homer to lie and tell authorities that he stabbed himself out of being distraught from losing another child. It seems that Mr. Rose believes his acts are justifiable because he did lose his children and he feels bad for himself. Doris Lessing, known as the “best woman novelist” of the postwar era, talks about how belonging to a certain “group” effects people’s obedience. This mechanism, of obedience to a group, does not only mean obedience or submission to a small group, or one that is sharply determined, like a religion or political party. It means, too, conforming to those large, vague, ill-defined collections of people who may never think of themselves as having a collective mind because are aware of differences of opinion-but which, to people from outside, from another culture, seem very minor” (Lessing 308). This correlates to Mr. Rose because he does not feel like he belongs or is important to any certain group.
He does not feel that he is closely being watched. These feelings lead to the assumption that he does not have any rules to follow. Whether or not deceit and rule breaking is justified through the motive behind them, the characters in this movie selfishly seem to think so. Other reasons like lust, with Candy and Homer, and guilt, with Mr. Rose, also tie into the selfishness of their actions. Sometimes people feel bad for themselves and think that they are exempt from normal rule, leaving their acts justifiable.