Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

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Mrs. Pulnik Character Analysis

An employee at Ida Murphy’s orphanage, which is co-run by Georgia Tann. Mrs. Pulnik has a heavy accent that indicates she is possibly from Norway. She helps gather the children in the orphanage for their baths, helps dress them for viewings, and generally keeps an eye on them. Mrs. Pulnik spends a lot of time with Rill Foss and her siblings, but she is not kind and sometimes hurts Rill or one of the others to make them stop complaining or keep them from telling other people the truth about life at the orphanage. Mrs. Pulnik is the one who drags Rill away when she tries to tell the people who want to adopt Gabion Foss that their parents are still alive.

Mrs. Pulnik Quotes in Before We Were Yours

The Before We Were Yours quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Pulnik or refer to Mrs. Pulnik. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Personal Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ballantine edition of Before We Were Yours published in 2017.
Chapter 16 Quotes

“Perhaps you should have thought of that before you invented some ridiculous story about your fictitious sister and poor Mr. Riggs.”

Blood pounds in my head. I try to make sense of what she’s saying, but I can’t.

“There never was any… Camellia. You and I both know that, don’t we, May? There were four of you when you came here. Two little sisters and one little brother. Only four. And we’ve done a marvelous job in finding homes, thus far. Good homes. And for that, you are most grateful, aren’t you?” She motions to Mrs. Pulnik. […] “There will be no more of this nonsense out of you. Do you understand?”

Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Pulnik Character Timeline in Before We Were Yours

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Pulnik appears in Before We Were Yours. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...calls Mr. Riggs) who gave them the peppermints. Camellia smiles at him as the nurse, Mrs. Pulnik , marches the kids up the stairs. Mrs. Pulnik gives Rill and her siblings old... (full context)
Chapter 12
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...herself lucky—Rill has parents who will come for her. One day Rill hears Murphy and Mrs. Pulnik talk about Stevie, who’s been wetting the bed. Murphy says he must be tied to... (full context)
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...the window, she takes care to hide her tracks both to avoid being caught by Mrs. Pulnik and because she’s afraid of what will happen if Mr. Riggs ever finds her alone... (full context)
Chapter 14
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...and asks if they can make arrangements and Tann smilingly says they can. She orders Mrs. Pulnik to bring Rill and Fern outside. Mrs. Pulnik grabs Rill’s arm and pulls her out... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...baby sister. Before she knows it, the car starts and begins driving away without Gabion. Mrs. Pulnik tells Rill she must behave or else she and her siblings will be put into... (full context)
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...When the workers try to bathe her, however, Camellia puts up a huge fight and Mrs. Pulnik asks Mr. Riggs to bring a rope. Camellia is taken away and Rill doesn’t see... (full context)
Chapter 16
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...day, but nobody comes to feed her, nor does Fern come back. The next day Mrs. Pulnik brings water, but it’s three days before she gives Rill food. (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
Rill loses count 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... (full context)
Chapter 18
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...cleaned up, dressed, and ready to meet a client. Mrs. Murphy protests, but Tann insists. Mrs. Pulnik gets Rill ready for wherever she is going with Mrs. Murphy. They take a car... (full context)