The Cider House Rules

A Novel

Publisher: Modern Library
First published in 1985, The Cider House Rules is John Irving's sixth novel. Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch--saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud's, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch's favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

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The Boy Who Belonged to St. Cloud's

In the hospital of the orphanage--the boys' division at St. Cloud's, Maine--two nurses were in charge of naming the new babies and checking that their little penises were healing from the obligatory circumcision. In those days (in 192_), all boys born at St. Cloud's were...
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READING GUIDE

1. The rules posted on the cider house wall aren't read or understood by anyone living there except Mr. Rose, who makes -- and breaks -- his own set of rules. What point is John Irving making with the unread rules?

2. What rules, both written and unwritten, do other characters follow in the novel? Did most...

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PRAISE FOR

"Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying."
--Joseph Heller