Cider House Rules Isu Essay Research Paper

Cider House Rules Isu Essay, Research Paper

Contemporary society advocates that without love, happiness is impossible. Webester’s

Dictionary defines happiness as, “ a state of well being or contentment.” Three types of

love which are necessary for contentment are; familial love, romantic love and friendship.

In John Irving’s, The Cider House Rules, Melony’s bitterness prevents her from

developing these forms of love vital for true happiness. Her hostility towards others

prevents her from developing familial love. Intense animosity and contempt ruin Melony’s

romantic relationships. Her bitterness leads to social isolation and the development of true

friendships become impossible.

An individual’s relationship with his/her family influences his/her development into

a functioning member of society. The fulfillment of the need for love and belonging begins

with a close family relationship. Melony’s malice and resentment towards others inhibits

her from experiencing this familial love. Throughout her life, Melony lives in many

different foster homes, yet a strong family bond is never formed. Her first experience in a

family environment is at the St.Clouds Orphanage. Several members of the orphanage’s

staff fail to establish a family bond with Melony. Mrs.Grogan is the head of the girls

division of St.Clouds as well as Melony’s primary care giver. Mrs.Grogan, “ was especially

fond of Melony but felt she failed at making Melony like her,“ (John Irving, P.89).

Mrs.Grogan continually expresses love and affection towards her, but is unable to initiate a

loving response. Melony’s constant attitude and bitterness towards others and prevent her

from developing a sense of familial love and consequently reaching true happiness. This

mannerism impedes on Melony’s development of future relationships in similar

environments as well. As an orphan, she is adopted several times by different foster

parents, but fails at being assimilated into the new families. Like Mrs.Grogan many of the

foster parents extend affectionate and loving gestures towards Melony but are denied an

appropriate response. Melony,

“had several unfortunate experiences in foster homes . . . Melony had run away

from the second and third foster families, alleging that the men in the families,

either fathers or brothers, had taken a sexual interest in her . . . In case

number six: the husband had died of a heart attack shortly after Melony’s arrival,

and the wife had sent the girl back to St.Clouds,” (John Irving, P.89-90).

Melony responds to the foster families efforts with viscous abuse. The attitude and hatred

she continually exhibits prevents her from experiencing familial love with the foster

families but ruins the family relationships she is introduced into as well. Melony’s

bitterness and consequent lack of familial love will hinder her development of future

relationships, ultimately ruin her chances of true happiness.

The relationships within a person’s family influence the romantic experiences

throughout his/her lifetime. Romance further satisfies an individual’s need for love and

belonging. Melony’s ongoing bitterness towards others ruins her romantic relationships.

She experiences few romantic encounters throughout her lifetime, achieving a substandard

level of satisfaction. Melony’s first significant romantic relationship is with Homer Wells,

and orphan at St.Clouds. Rather than base their romantic connection on love and mutual

respect, instead sex, physical appearances and a childhood promise become the basis for

their union. Homer’s guardian,

“knew, he had to get his apprentice away from Melony. The two of them together:

How they depressed Larch! They struck the doctor as a tired and loveless married

couple. What sexual tension Melony had managed to conduct between them in the

earlier years of their angry courtship seemed absent now. If they still practice a

sexual exchange, they practiced infrequently and without enthusiasm. . . It

appeared to Doctor Larch that some wordless, joyless bond existed between

them,” (John Irving. P.121).

Melony’s relentless anguish extinguishes the physical passion between Homer and herself.

Subsequently, the very basis of the couples romance loses it’s novelty and the union solely

relies on the childhood pact made between Homer and Melony. Her bitterness and

treatment of Homer leads to their inevitable departure. Their break up increases Melony’s

bitterness, and future distances her from the goal of true happiness. Her second significant

romantic experience is heavily influenced by Melony’s failure with Homer Wells.

Melony’s vengeful quest to seek out her former lover leads her to a city where she meets

her second romantic interest, Lorna. Unlike her relationship with Homer, Lorna and

Melony base their romance on mutual friendship.


“got out of bed and went into Lorna’s room to talk, but Lorna was so sleepy that

she wouldn’t get up; Melony got in bed beside her friend. . . That was how they

became lovers, listening to the false spring. . . ‘There’s one thing,’ Lorna said to

Melony. ‘If we’re gonna be together, you gotta stop lookin’ for this Homer

character. Either you want me or you want him,’ . . . ‘I want you,’ Melony told

Lorna. ‘Just don’t leave me.’ A permanent couple, that’s an orphan’s ideal; but

Melony wondered where her rage would go. If she stopped looking for Homer

Wells, would she stop thinking of him, too?,” (John Irving. P.402).

Both Melony and Lorna find a mutual sexual attraction for each other. Lorna is reluctant

to commit to a relationship initially because of Melony’s residing hatred and anger towards

her former lover Homer. Melony has doubts within her own conscience whether she can

assuage her anger towards Homer or find an alternate outlet for it. Just as Melony’s

bitterness fails her with Homer, it alters her relationship with Lorna. Melony’s animosity

and contempt ultimately interfere with her romantic needs and prevent true happiness from

being achieved.

Melony’s inability to maintain a romantic relationship is closely related to her lack

of desire to build friendships. Friendships satisfy the need for love and belonging as well as

provide a unique element of support. Melony’s resentment of others leads to social

isolation and the development of true friendships becomes impossible. Melony faces

betrayal on numerous occasions throughout her lifetime. Her fear of betrayal and rejection

forces her into isolation from society. Melony reunites with an old friend named Mary

Agnes Cork from the orphanage in St. Clouds. She is influential in the development and

life of Mary Agnes. She desperately wants to reestablish her friendship with Melony.

Melony, “ left Bath without saying goodbye to Mary Agnes Cork, who would have done

anything to please her, who asked all of her school friends . . . if any of them had ever

heard of an orchard called Ocean View. If this knowledge might make Melony her friend,

Mary Agnes Cork would have never stopped inquiring,” (John Irving, P.352). Mary Agnes

valued Melony’s friendship. She continues to offer her dedication and support to Melony,

however, Melony’s bitterness prevents her form trusting and accepting Mary Agnes’ desire

for friendship. Melony must be reintegrated into society in order for her to be truly happy

and forgive old hatreds. After fifteen years Homer Wells remains unforgiven by Melony.

Melony is unable to show forgiveness and begins to ratify old feelings for Homer. Melony,

“ was surprised that it was not with vengence that she thought of Homer Wells. . .

she could complain to Lorna about what Homer had done to her. Now

Melony imagined she could complain about Lorna to Homer Wells. . . Melony

discovered that she could think like this for one minute, but in the next minute

when she thought of Homer Wells, she thought she’d like to kill him,” (John

Irving, P.427).

Lorna becomes a temporary outlet for Melony’s bitterness towards Homer Wells. Her

bitterness for her first lover is only diverted briefly and then she resumes her hatred for

Homer. Only will Melony’s forgiveness of Homer and Lorna overcome her social isolation

and then she can begin to develop true friendships and become truly happy.

Happiness is a virtue which relies on an individual’s ability to give as well as receive

love. Melony’s hostility causes her social isolation which prevents her from establishing a

genuine friendship. Melony’s intense bitterness ruins her romantic relationships. Animosity

and contempt towards others prevents her from developing familial love. In John Irving’s,

The Cider House Rules, Melony’s bitterness prevents her from developing the three

forms of love vital for true happiness. The key to happiness through out life is maintaining

healthy relationships with family, friends and lovers.


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