Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Mrs. Murphy/ “Miss Larsen’s Landlady” Character Analysis

Mrs. Murphy is the matron of the ladies’ boardinghouse where Miss Larsen lives in the town of Hemingford, Minnesota. Originally from Ireland, Mrs. Murphy is a widow. She takes in Vivian/Niamh and, with the help of Miss Larsen, helps her to find a safe permanent home. Mrs. Murphy is opinionated, authoritative, and warm. She is a good cook and runs an efficient house. She is especially gentle and generous with Vivian/Niamh, who she calls “Niamh.”
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Mrs. Murphy/ “Miss Larsen’s Landlady” Character Timeline in Orphan Train

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Murphy/ “Miss Larsen’s Landlady” appears in Orphan Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 18: Hemingford Country, Minnesota, 1930
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
...Niamh with a party and a loaf of Irish currant cake, baked for Niamh by Miss Larsen’s landlady . Niamh’s happiness brings tears into her eyes as she asks: “For me?” The cake... (full context)
Chapter 25: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1930
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
A man who works for Miss Larsen’s landlady drives Niamh and Miss Larsen to the boardinghouse. They drive into Hemingford, which Niamh hasn’t... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...hospital. Miss Larsen laments that Niamh has suffered a lot for her age. At dinner, Mrs. Murphy introduces Niamh as “Niamh Power” to her boarders. There is an abundant dinner spread, unlike... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
After dinner, Mrs. Murphy shows Niamh to the clean room she has prepared just for her. She gives her... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...the next week, she is confined to her bed, going in and out of delirium. Mrs. Murphy and Miss Larsen take turns caring for her and feeding her chicken soup. Mrs. Murphy... (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
...health improves, Niamh begins riding with Miss Larsen to school each morning. Nearly every day, Mrs. Murphy finds some new garment to give Niamh. Her cooking fills Niamh’s mind with pleasant memories... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...with the women of the house.” He suggests sending Niamh back to New York, when Mrs. Murphy politely asks to speak privately with him. When they return, they cheerfully announce that Mrs.... (full context)
Chapter 29: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1930
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
Mr. Sorenson, Miss Larsen, and Mrs. Murphy are present when the Nielsens arrive a few days later. After some polite conversation, Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 36: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1940-1943
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...the months go by, Vivian stays busy with her work at the store. Mrs. Nielsen, Mrs. Murphy , Lillian, and Emily keep her company with movies and tea. She gets letters of... (full context)