Orphan Train

Orphan Train


Christina Baker Kline

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Orphan Train: Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

On a day off from school, Molly decides to visit Vivian’s house early to “knock out” extra community service hours. Vivian knows Molly is coming, but they didn’t discuss a time. Nobody answers when Molly rings the doorbell. Molly lets herself in, which startles Terry. Angry, she accuses Molly of breaking in and argues that she can’t assume Vivian (who is sleeping) will be available at Molly’s whim. Terry criticizes Molly’s lack of progress in throwing things out. She explains that Vivian holds onto her stuff as if she were holding onto “her life.” Terry instructs Molly to “make” Vivian get rid of things for her own and Terry’s sake. Molly feels defensive, but controls herself to prevent trouble. While she waits for Vivian to wake up, Molly starts reading the copy of Anne of Green Gables that Vivian gave her. To her surprise, she enjoys it. An hour later, Vivian comes downstairs, happy to see Molly.
Molly’s attitude toward her community service is evident in the author’s choice of words: Molly arrives early to “knock out” extra hours. This phrase shows Molly’s rather self-centered focus in her project. From Molly’s perspective, Terry’s anger is based in her unreasonable suspicion and distrust. However, from Terry’s perspective, Molly’s actions seem disrespectful and self-interested. Terry’s words about Vivian’s attachment to her possessions highlight an important truth: Vivian’s attachment to her belongings represents her connection to the past and her collection of unprocessed experiences and memories.
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