Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

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Ida Murphy Character Analysis

One of Georgia Tann’s partners in the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Murphy runs the orphanage where Tann brings Rill Foss and her siblings along with Trent Turner Sr. (called Stevie) and his sister Sherry. Murphy is also Mr. Riggs’s (the orphanage’s groundskeeper’s) cousin and protects Riggs while he preys on the children in the orphanage, including Camellia Foss. Murphy locks Rill and her siblings in a damp basement instead of allowing them to sleep with the other children on the second floor. After Rill tells a new worker at the orphanage named Miss Dodd about Riggs assaulting Camellia and the other crimes Murphy is committing, Dodd is fired and Murphy locks Rill in the basement alone. For weeks, Rill is only given minimal food and water. Eventually, Murphy brings Rill back upstairs to meet with her and Tann. Murphy and Tann tell Rill that her last remaining sibling, Fern Foss, was adopted. Rill is heartbroken, but determined to take care of Stevie, who has bonded with Rill at the orphanage. A short time later, Murphy makes Rill get dressed up and brings her to a hotel. Murphy tells Rill not to tell anyone and to be good and not cry, leading Rill to believe she is about to be hurt in some way. Instead, Murphy is surprised to discover that the man who asked for Rill, Darren Sevier, wants to adopt her—he has already adopted Fern and wants to adopt Rill now because Fern is inconsolable without her. Sevier takes Rill home and she never sees Murphy or Tann again.
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Ida Murphy Character Timeline in Before We Were Yours

The timeline below shows where the character Ida Murphy appears in Before We Were Yours. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...peeling paint. Camellia asks if they’re at the hospital and Tann says they must let Mrs. Murphy wash them before they can go to the hospital. Rill tries to believe this but... (full context)
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...the other kids into an office where a woman is waiting for them. The woman, Mrs. Murphy , warmly greets Tann, but wrinkles her nose at the kids. Murphy asks where they... (full context)
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
From her spot by the stairs, Rill can hear Mrs. Murphy and Tann talking. Tann says something about surrender papers at the hospital and the struggle... (full context)
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...keep the kids quiet, but they’re hungry, and nobody acknowledges them for a long time. Mrs. Murphy comes out of her office smelling like whiskey and gets mad at Camellia for asking... (full context)
Chapter 12
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...wards of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Every day she sneaks to the window of Mrs. Murphy ’s office to listen even though she knows she’ll be in trouble if she gets... (full context)
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...occasion: a bookmobile is coming, but only the most well-behaved kids can borrow a book. Mrs. Murphy makes Rill leave her siblings in the house while she picks a book for them... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...the home again. Rill finds a safe spot to hide and listens to Tann and Mrs. Murphy talk. Tann talks about an advertisement she placed in a paper about available blond children... (full context)
Chapter 14
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...Gabion. Rill dreads the anger Camellia will feel towards her, but nonetheless, as soon as Mrs. Murphy lets her go Rill tries to find Camellia; however, she’s not in any of her... (full context)
Chapter 16
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...tell her where Camellia is. One of the older boys told Rill that he heard Mrs. Murphy tell Mr. Riggs that Camellia died in the closet, but Rill didn’t believe it. Rill... (full context)
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...used the “slop pot” instead of wetting the bed and hurries to fix the cot. Mrs. Murphy appears and tells Rill she’s not going anywhere. Murphy grabs Rill by her hair and... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...of how many days she stays in the basement before Mrs. Pulnik brings her to Mrs. Murphy ’s office. Pulnik throws Rill to the floor in front of Tann and Murphy. Tann... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...find Fern and terrified of what will happen if she doesn’t agree. Tann leaves and Mrs. Murphy tells Rill that she needs to be grateful from now on. Rill agrees and asks... (full context)
Chapter 18
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...windows, and he tells the worker that if she’s not nice he’ll tell his cousin Ida. (full context)
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
The next day Mrs. Murphy lines the kids up because she found muddy footprints in the kitchen that indicate someone... (full context)
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
Mrs. Murphy brings Rill into one of the rooms. Tann is there already, and they leave Rill... (full context)
Chapter 20
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...she’s seen it happen before. Rill decides she and Fern won’t ever go back to Mrs. Murphy ’s, not when the river is so close. Rill decides that as soon as she... (full context)