Issues Presented to Viewers in Cider House Rules

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The Cider House Rules, directed by Lasse Hallström, presents the audience with controversial issues such as incest, abortion, and adoption, to emphasize the damage of youth and children.

Incest is shown, by Hallström, to cause emotional wreckage as a result of abuse of power. This is exemplified in the incestuous relationship between Mr. Rose and his daughter Rose Rose and the attempted interference of the protagonist of the film, Homer Wells.

In many parts of the film, Mr. Rose’s feelings towards his daughter are portrayed as affectionate and compassionate. When he is confronted by Homer about his sexual relations with Rose, Mr. Rose pledges desperately that he “loves her”, whilst a close up on Mr. Rose’s face exaggerates his defiance. Another image which presents Mr. Rose’s “caring” attitude is the mid-shot of him standing over Rose’s induced body during the abortion, feeding her ether and therefore “protecting” her from pain during the operation. This is also similar to the role of men whilst their partners underwent abortions at the orphanage, further reinforcing the “loving” impression of Mr. Rose and his daughter’s relationship.

Ultimately however, incest is seen as a cause of violence and damage to those involved through Mr. Rose and Rose Rose’s relationship. A low shot is used on Mr. Rose when he is confronted by Homer, emphasizing his condescendence whilst he threatens Homer about being in the “knife business”. Ultimately, Mr. Rose, who was given the image as the “perpetrator”, is murdered by Rose Rose. It is ironical that he was stabbed, himself accentuating his talent with using knives as a purpose of violence.

The Cider House Rules reinstitutes incest as a taboo of taking advantage of youth, and also portrays that it wounds those involved both mentally and physically.

Adoption is similarly portrayed as damaging to children, in particular the children of Dr. Wilbur Larch’s orphanage. Adoptive parents are represented in The Cider House...
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