Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Mr. Nielson is Vivian/Niamh’s third and only legal adoptive father. He and his wife, Mrs. Nielsen, run a successful general store in the town of Hemingford, Minnesota. They had a biological daughter, Vivian Nielsen, who died as a child from diphtheria. Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen ultimately ask “Dorothy” to take on the name of their late daughter, the first Vivian Nielsen. Mr. Nielsen is generous and provides well for Vivian/Niamh’s needs. But just as with his wife, he and Vivian/Niamh never become deeply emotionally connected.

Mr. Nielsen Quotes in Orphan Train

The Orphan Train quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Nielsen or refer to Mr. Nielsen. 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

They don’t seem eager to learn about me, but then again, few people are. I get the sense that my abandonment, and the circumstances that brought me to them, matter little to them, compared to the need I might fill in their lives.

Related Characters: Vivian Daly / Niamh Power / “Dorothy” (speaker), Viola Nielsen, Mr. Nielsen
Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:

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Mr. Nielsen Character Timeline in Orphan Train

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Nielsen appears in Orphan Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 30: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1930-1931
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
...to her, something she has never experienced before. The Nielsens have an orderly daily routine: Mr. Nielsen manages the general store, while Mrs. Nielsen manages the home. At her new school, Niamh... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
...Swedish, and her dark eyes and hair are from her “Gypsy” (Romani) roots. She and Mr. Nielsen thought they were infertile until their daughter, Vivian Nielsen, was born – the same year... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
One evening, Mr. Nielsen and Mrs. Nielsen tell Niamh that they have come to see her as their daughter,... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
One day at the store, Niamh hears a familiar voice bartering with Mr. Nielsen . Niamh realizes the man is Mr. Byrne. He appears tired and possibly drunk. When... (full context)
Chapter 31: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1935-1939
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
When Vivian is sixteen, she takes initiative to help Mr. Nielsen improve and expand his store, taking note of the latest fashions and trends from bigger... (full context)
Chapter 36: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1940-1943
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...fears, Dutchy encourages Vivian to continue her studies and her job at the store. With Mr. Nielsen ’s help, Dutchy gets a job in Hemingford as a music teacher. Every weekend Vivian... (full context)