Orphan Train Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Christina Baker Kline
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was the name of Vivian's younger sister?

2. What is the name of the village in Ireland where Vivian's family lived before immigrating to America?

3. What is the name of Jack's mother in the novel?

4. How did Molly's father die?

5. Who is the author of the poem "Ode on a Grecian Urn" that Vivian recites in Section 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the process of adoption from the orphan trains. What stands out the most to you about the depictions of these transactions in the novel?

2. What are Molly's first impressions of the attic when she is taken there in Section 2? Who leads Molly to this area of Vivian's house?

3. What transition occurs when Molly opens the first box in the attic in Section 2? How does the narrative style of the novel change?

4. What is Molly's function in the narrative? How has Molly's past influenced her character in the beginning of the story?

5. Where is Vivian first adopted from the orphan train? Who adopts her? What is this couple's motivation for adoption?

6. How does Vivian trigger the beginning of Molly's transformation of character in Section 2?

7. How does the structure of the novel contribute to the theme of the past's influence on the present?

8. What foreshadowing can be seen through the meeting of Molly and Vivian in the beginning of the novel?

9. How would you describe Molly's emotional shield in the beginning of the story? What led to the development of this shield?

10. What purpose does the Prologue serve in Orphan Train? How would you describe the language and tone of the Prologue?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the impact of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 on American economy. How were small towns, such as Albans, Minnesota, impacted in comparison with cities like New York? How fast did the Great Depression hit? How are these impacts presented in the storyline of Orphan Train?

Essay Topic 2

Describe and analyze the character of Mrs. Murphy in the novel. Why does Mrs. Murphy take to Vivian so quickly? What prevents Mrs. Murphy from adopting Vivian herself? How does Vivian feel about Mrs. Murphy? What impact does Mrs. Murphy have on Vivian’s outlook on life?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the theme of identity in Orphan Train. What symbolic objects in the story symbolize “self” or “identity” to Vivian and to Molly? How do both Vivian and Molly’s identities change in the course of the narrative? What are some examples of these changes?

(see the answer keys)

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