John Irving, the author of the novels the Cider House Rule and A Widow for One Year focuses on the theme of motherhood through the description of the main characters. Children who experience parental negligence especially from their mothers are unable to make solid decisions in their lives.
Mother is the backbone of every family; consequently, children who grow up without mothers end up having tough times in adulthood, as it is the case in the two novels. Irving focuses on failed motherhood either before or after the birth of the children.
In the Cider House Rule, Homer Wells undergoes awful ordeals during his childhood which forces him into an Orphanage called St. Paul. Surprisingly, Homer comes to the orphanage when he is still an infant. He does not know his mother’s whereabouts; he simply tries effortlessly to live with four foster families. While under foster care, Homer has never known how it feels to be happy.
Similarly, Ruth Cole does not have a happy childhood after the death of her two siblings; her mother neglects her parental duties. In addition, her parents have frequent fights, which lead to divorce. In the two cases, there is evident failed motherhood and the two kids; Homer and Ruth, experience this unfortunate failure.
Dr. Larch parents only tolerated to remain in marriage for the marriage was void of love. His mother does not care about her son’s wellbeing; she is rarely at home, because her job is perhaps more important; her family more so her son comes second or third in her priorities. Interestingly, when her husband brings the young Larch a prostitute as a present for passing exams well, she does not object.
Ruth experiences the same neglect just like Larch; her mother does not love her and its not surprising when she eventually leaves Ruth under the care of her father. Regrettably, the issue of failed motherhood paints the picture of current parents who leave their children under the care of either teachers or house helps to pursue their dreams.
After growing to become a doctor, Dr. Larch bases his career on abortion; he simply lacks no respect for human life courtesy of poor parentage.
Talking of abortion, the author highlights the failure of some mothers, who respect not their unborn children; abortion to them I a common thing. Additionally, in Larch’s neighborhood, most mothers are the oldest professionals in the world; prostitutes. Besides prostitution being ‘unethical’ though controversial, the fruits are repugnant.
These ‘professionals’ conceive children they cannot raise and thus abortion becomes the last resort; unfortunately, some mothers die in the process of abortion; what a piteous way of living. On the other hand, Ruth witnesses the painful death of a prostitute in one of the red districts; statistics and conventional knowledge attribute prostitutes to failed motherhood.
The comparative element in the novels is the theme of motherhood. In both books, the role of mother is in the society goes unfulfilled. Consequently, the main characters like Ruth, Larch and Homes are unable to make standing decisions in their lives due to poor motherhood.
Children need mother’s guidance as they grow for life issues might be confounding even to the wise and children needs guidance to know what decisions to make under what situations. Irving goes further to highlight the detrimental effects children incur when parents neglect their duties and the product of the same.
In conclusion, conflicts from either marriage or poor relationship cause loss of life and heart breakage of the children. The two books comparatively highlight parenthood, especially motherhood and its significance in the society. Finally, Irving is able to enlighten the society about the expectations of a mother.