Orphan Train Themes & Motifs

Christina Baker Kline
This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Orphan Train.
This section contains 1,263 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Past Haunts the Present

In the brief Prologue, narrator Vivian introduces the concept of ghosts, stating her belief that ghosts haunt the living. While the text is unclear on whether she literally believes that, what's more apparent is that Vivian believes in ghosts in a more figurative sense – that the past “haunts” the present by having a profound and lasting influence on it. She seems to believe that the people in our lives who may have died, gone elsewhere or abandoned us, can still have an effect on our health, our attitude, and our thinking, all despite their absence. This in turn introduces one of the novel’s central thematic contentions, that not just important people in the past but also important events, circumstances, and choices affect, and indeed define, the present.

This manifests with particular vividness as Vivian shares with Molly both her life story...

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This section contains 1,263 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Orphan Train Study Guide
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