Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Gram is Vivian/Niamh’s biological grandmother. She is the mother of Patrick Power. She is born in Ireland in the late 1800s and remains there even after her son emigrates. Gram is a good cook and treats Niamh kindly. She gives Niamh the claddagh cross that Niamh will wear throughout her life. Tired of supporting her son Patrick’s family and fighting with her daughter-in-law Mary, Gram plays a key role in sending Niamh and her family away to New York.

Gram Quotes in Orphan Train

The Orphan Train quotes below are all either spoken by Gram or refer to Gram. 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:
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the William Morrow edition of Orphan Train published in 2013.
Chapter 15 Quotes

I keep forgetting to answer to Dorothy. But in a way I am glad to have a new identity. It makes it easier to let go of so much else. I’m not the same Niamh who left her Gram and aunties and uncles in Kinvara and came across the ocean on the Agnes Pauline, who lived with her family on Elizabeth Street. No, I am Dorothy now.

Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 30 Quotes

And though I rarely take the claddagh off, as I get older I can’t escape the realization that the only remaining piece of my blood family comes from a woman who pushed her only son and his family out to sea in a boat, knowing full well she’d probably never see them again.

Related Characters: Vivian Daly / Niamh Power / “Dorothy” (speaker), Gram
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Gram Character Timeline in Orphan Train

The timeline below shows where the character Gram appears in Orphan Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 12: Albans, Minnesota, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...wouldn’t want that anyway. She tries to think of the “bright side,” just as her Gram taught her: She is lucky to have food, shelter, and work to occupy her mind,... (full context)
Chapter 15: Albans, Minnesota, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...disdainfully asks about it, and Niamh tells the story of how it came from her Gram and symbolizes love and friendship. Mrs. Byrne considers making Niamh remove it, but Mr. Byrne... (full context)
Chapter 18: Hemingford Country, Minnesota, 1930
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
...as she asks: “For me?” The cake “tastes like Ireland” and reminds her of her Gram’s kitchen. That night, Mr. Grote calls birthdays “ridiculous,” saying that he can’t remember his own... (full context)
Chapter 22: Hemingford County, Minnesota, 1930
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...happy place to get through a difficult time. She imagines the same place again now: Gram’s kitchen. In her memory, she pictures herself and Gram baking, singing, and sipping tea. But... (full context)
Chapter 28: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1930
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
...new garment to give Niamh. Her cooking fills Niamh’s mind with pleasant memories of her Gram’s kitchen. She also begins remembering her Da’s drinking and her Mam and Gram’s fights, each... (full context)
Chapter 30: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1930-1931
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
...offers to help Niamh polish her claddagh cross. Niamh tells her it was from her Gram, but Mrs. Nielsen smiles and asks no questions. Niamh knows that helping her clean the... (full context)