The character of Ralph Thibodeaus in Orphan Train from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Ralph is Molly’s current foster father. He works as a plumber in Spruce Harbor. Inspired by his own experience as a troubled teen, he convinced his wife, Dina, to become foster parents. Ralph is even-tempered and often tries to play the role of mediator during Molly and Dina’s frequent fights. Though he is generally kind to Molly, he fails to protect her from Dina’s fits of anger.

Ralph Thibodeaus Quotes in Orphan Train

The Orphan Train quotes below are all either spoken by Ralph Thibodeaus or refer to Ralph Thibodeaus. 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

He’s always making excuses – “She didn’t mean nothing by it,” “She’s yanking your chain” – when Dina does things like intone “the Tribe has spoken” when Molly expresses an opinion. “You need to stop taking yourself so seriously, little girl,” Dina said when Molly asked her to knock it off. “If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re going to have a very hard life.”

Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Orphan Train quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire Orphan Train LitChart as a printable PDF.
Orphan train.pdf.medium

Ralph Thibodeaus Character Timeline in Orphan Train

The timeline below shows where the character Ralph Thibodeaus appears in Orphan Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011
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
...foster parents argue through the walls. Her foster mother, Dina, is telling her foster father, Ralph, that she wasn’t prepared to take care of a kid with so “many problems.” Through... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...“persona”. She believes that Dina, who happens to dislike Molly’s goth “persona”, will soon force Ralph to kick her out. Molly even starts packing in case she needs to leave. Her... (full context)
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...of her room, so she and Jack hang up. In the living room, Molly tells Ralph and Dina she has found a way to fulfill her community service hours, but that... (full context)
Chapter 7: Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...Dina associates Molly’s every action and mistake with her liberal views. Molly knows Dina and Ralph got together in a “predictable football player-cheerleader story arc,” but she suspects that Ralph disagrees... (full context)
Chapter 19: Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...foster homes where the parents partied and how much calmer things are with the Thibodeaus (Ralph and Dina). Lori tells Molly that there are scholarships available for foster care youth—or Molly... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
At dinner that night, Ralph and Molly discuss her community service project. He says he’s been to Vivian’s house before... (full context)
Chapter 27: Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
A week later, Ralph is cheerfully working on his lawn to celebrate the beginning of spring. Molly tries to... (full context)
Chapter 32: Spruce Harbor, Maine
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
...they are paid to keep her. Enraged, Dina yells that she’s had “enough.” This time, Ralph’s efforts to calm her make no difference. Dina goes into Molly’s bedroom and comes out... (full context)
Chapter 33: Spruce Harbor, Maine
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Before Molly leaves, Ralph offers her pocket money, a ride, and help with packing. Molly turns him down, resisting... (full context)
Chapter 38: Spruce Harbor, Maine 2011
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
...and breakfast, and waits for Vivian. Jack calls. On the phone, she tells him that Ralph and Dina threw her out and she is at Vivian’s. He is angry that she... (full context)
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
A couple days later, Molly texts Ralph, telling him that she is safe with Vivian. Ralph calls and demands that Molly return... (full context)