Orphan Train

Orphan Train

The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace Symbol Analysis

The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace Symbol Icon

Like Molly Ayer, Vivian/Niamh has a necklace from her birth family that holds deep sentimental value. As a young girl, Niamh Power’s Gram gave her a claddagh cross necklace. The pewter necklace has two hands holding a heart in the center. The claddagh cross is a Celtic symbol that Vivian/Niamh considers to represent love, friendship, loyalty, and the journey that leads from home and back. Vivian/Niamh wears the necklace throughout her childhood and most of her adulthood. It represents her cultural identity and history, as well as her emotional connection to her homeland and her birth family. In Vivian/Niamh’s life, she ultimately finds her way back to her family and her origins by coming to terms with her past and by reuniting with the daughter she gave up for adoption, Sarah Dunnell.

The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace Quotes in Orphan Train

The Orphan Train quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace. 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:

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Molly touches Vivian’s shoulder, frail and bony under her thin silk cardigan. She half turns, half smiles, her eyes brimming with tears. Her hand flutters to her clavicle, to the silver chain around her neck, the claddagh charm – those tiny hands clasping a crowned heart: love, loyalty, friendship – a never-ending path that leads away from home and circles back.

Related Characters: Molly Ayer, Vivian Daly / Niamh Power / “Dorothy”, Sarah Dunnell/ “May”
Related Symbols: The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace
Page Number: 273
Explanation and Analysis:

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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.

Chapter 3 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
Related Symbols: The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

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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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The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace Symbol Timeline in Orphan Train

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace appears in Orphan Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: New York City, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...“too comely.” She and another matron try to tell her that she can’t bring her claddagh cross necklace onto “the train” because the children “aren’t allowed keepsakes.” The narrator tells them it... (full context)
Chapter 15: Albans, Minnesota, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...Niamh to buy a coat and two sweaters on discount. That night, she notices “Dorothy’s” claddagh cross for the first time. She disdainfully asks about it, and Niamh tells the story of... (full context)
Chapter 21: Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
...necklace, which she has always kept, as an example. Molly sees Vivian reach for her claddagh cross , and asks her if it has special meaning. Vivian says that it does. Molly... (full context)
Chapter 22: Hemingford County, Minnesota, 1930
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...a shortage of food. One day, he tries to figure out the worth of Niamh’s claddagh cross , but Niamh convinces him that her necklace is made of tin and worth nothing.... (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
...Irish name, and she asks her real name. She also notices how Niamh “guards” her claddagh cross carefully, remarking: “It’s the only thing you’ve got to remind you of your people, now,... (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
...about the burden of “feeding that family.” On the day her Gram gave her the Claddagh cross from her own first communion, she told her it would always lead her back home.... (full context)
Chapter 30: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1930-1931
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
...One Sunday, while polishing the silver together, Mrs. Nielsen offers to help Niamh polish her claddagh cross . Niamh tells her it was from her Gram, but Mrs. Nielsen smiles and asks... (full context)
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
...by, Niamh’s memories of her birth family start to fade. Still, she always wears the claddagh cross . When she is older, she realizes her only token of her birth family is... (full context)
Chapter 36: Hemingford, Minnesota, 1940-1943
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...me”—but when the draft begins, Dutchy is called. Before he leaves, Vivian gives him her claddagh cross . While he is in training in San Diego, Vivian discovers she is pregnant. Despite... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...personal items from Jim Daly, Dutchy’s shipmate. It “will be years before” she puts the claddagh cross back on. Dutchy’s superstition kept him from telling others about the baby, and in Vivian’s... (full context)
Chapter 40: 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
...moved by her expression of “yearning and wariness and hopefulness and love.” Molly looks at Vivian’s necklace and considers its meaning: “love, loyalty, friendship – a never-ending path that leads away from... (full context)