Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Mary Power/ “Mam” Character Analysis

Mary Power (“Mam”) is Vivian/Niamh’s biological mother. Born in Ireland at the turn of the twentieth century, she immigrates to New York with her husband Patrick and her three children, Niamh, Dominick, and James. She becomes pregnant with her daughter Maisie during the voyage to America. Mary is frequently depressed, which can make her neglectful of her children. Still, she values education and teaches Niamh to read. In Ireland, Mary’s fights with Niamh’s Gram are part of the series of events that lead to their family’s departure from Ireland. After Mary’s husband and sons die in a house fire, Mary is institutionalized in a mental hospital.

Mary Power/ “Mam” Quotes in Orphan Train

The Orphan Train quotes below are all either spoken by Mary Power/ “Mam” or refer to Mary Power/ “Mam”. 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 1 Quotes

How strange, I think – that I am in a place my parents have never been and will never see. How strange that I am here and they are gone. I touch the claddagh cross around my neck.

Related Characters: Vivian Daly / Niamh Power / “Dorothy” (speaker), Patrick Power/ “Da”, Mary Power/ “Mam”
Related Symbols: The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Mary Power/ “Mam” Character Timeline in Orphan Train

The timeline below shows where the character Mary Power/ “Mam” appears in Orphan Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: New York City, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...family friend hired her father to work in his pub. Her Da’s drinking and her Mam’s “black moods” continued, but still the narrator remained hopeful. She reflects that Maisie’s wailing on... (full context)
Chapter 4: New York City, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...to take her to the Children’s Aid Society. The narrator wants to wait for her Mam, who was taken away screaming, but he explains her mother “isn’t coming back.” Mr. Schatzman... (full context)
Chapter 5: New York Central Train, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...Fahy. A poem about Fahy’s determination to return to his beloved Kinvara often made Niamh’s Mam cry and express her regret over leaving Ireland. (full context)
Chapter 15: Albans, Minnesota, 1929
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
...Niamh recalls how her Da talked proudly of Irish history, while history just made her Mam sad. At one point, Mr. Byrne tells her she “could be his daughter” with her... (full context)
Chapter 22: Hemingford County, Minnesota, 1930
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...Gram baking, singing, and sipping tea. But then other memories creep in: She remembers her Mam “expecting her” to cook, clean, and care for her siblings. She remembers one night when... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
The Grotes’ children come down with lice. Niamh remembers her Mam’s stories of lice outbreaks at boarding school. Her Mam refused to cut her long, dark... (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
...pleasant memories of her Gram’s kitchen. She also begins remembering her Da’s drinking and her Mam and Gram’s fights, each blaming the other for his alcoholism. She remembers overhearing her grandparents... (full context)