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Orphan Train

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Sarah Burghardt

on 12 May 2015

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Transcript of Orphan Train

Orphan Train
Christina Baker Kane
By: Sarah Burghardt
Rising Action
Falling Action
Orphan Train
is a unique book because it tells two stories that come together in the end. To represent this, I made two story maps that connect when the stories collide.
Rising Action
Niamh Power, who began her journey on the orphan train in New York City in 1929, had just suffered from her sister Maisie's death from a fire. She had to leave everyone she knew behind; the only thing she had to remember was a claddagh necklace from her Gram. On the train, she met a young man named Dutchy, who she doubted she would ever see again. As she traveled, no home she came across truly wanted her. He name changed from Niamh to Dorothy and she moved farther and farther from her own identity.
Molly is a troubled teenager who lives in Maine in 2011 with Dina and Ralph ever since her father died in a car accident and her mother turned to drugs. Dina does not like Molly because of the trouble she'd caused and is always complaining about her to Ralph. For community service, Molly works with 91 year old Vivian (Niamh) and begins to hear her story. Her boyfriend, Jack, tries to keep her out of more trouble.
Dorothy runs away from one particularly unsanitary, unwelcoming, and crowded house to her schoolhouse. She then lives at her teacher, Miss Larsen's, boardinghouse. They make a comfortable room for her while she looks for a new family. She lives with the Nielsons, who care for and respect her. They are the first family who loved her. They give her the name of their dead daughter, Vivian. She was reunited with Dutchy and before long, they got married. Dutchy was drafted to fight in WWII and died in action. Vivian gave birth to their baby, but was too devastated to care for her, so she put her up for adoption. She then marries Jim Daly, who gives her a comfortable life, but they were never as in love as she was with Dutchy.
Molly continues to work for Vivian in her attic. They bond over their similarities. Molly is also interviewing Vivian for a school project. While she is researching, Molly finds out Maisie did not die in the fire; she was found alive, but Vivian didn't know. Maisie died at age 83 in her sleep. She tells Vivian the news.
Molly and Dina get in a fight and she is forced to leave. The only place she can think to go is Vivian's. Vivian welcomes her and she sleeps in one of the many empty rooms in Vivian's large house. Vivian finishes telling Molly her story. They keep each other company while Molly lives there. They find out that Vivian's daughter is alive and willing to come and meet her. This is the happiest both of them had been in a long time.
Molly and Vivian continue to research her family. They find Vivian's daughter, Sarah Dunnel, her grandson Stephen, and her great-granddaughter Becca. Sarah and Becca are coming to meet Vivian and find out why she was put up for adoption in the first place.

Sarah and Becca arrive at Vivian's house, beaming with excitement. Vivian is ready to retell her story once again.
Main Conflict
Although she never admitted it, the fact that she didn't know where her daughter was haunted her. It took Molly, another orphan, to help her find her.
Literary Terms
Each chapter was titled with a date and place. Vivian's story began in the 1920s, but Molly's began in 2011. Flashback was used to tell both stories that took place at different times.
When Molly first met Vivian, she didn't know anything about her, but the way they bonded foreshadowed that something important would happen between them.
Molly was the hero of the story.Molly brought Vivian back together with her family. She solved the main conflict of the story.
The genre of
Orphan Train
is realistic fiction because it not a true story, but it could possibly have happened.
The claddagh that Vivian kept from her Gram symbolized her heritage. She kept it forever and wore it to remember who she is and where she came from.
The theme of
Orphan Train
is that family is forever. Even though Vivian gave up her daughter for adoption right after she was born, Sarah came back to Vivian 63 years later. This shows that family members will always be there for each other.
The tone of the story is affectionate. She wrote the book in a way that showed she cared for the subject. She was interested in the orphan train and showed that in her writing.
The mood of the story is hopeful. Both Molly and Vivian had hope for a better future. They knew thing would get better and they did.
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