Orphan Train Movement.
Both were at the mercy of strangers, many of whom were inclined to assume that they were wayward children simply by virtue of the fact they did not have parents to look after them.
I teared up in several places.
This may be why: the author explored a bit, though not particularly overtly, the idea of children becoming wayward as a result of being considered wayward.
They might internalize the idea and meet expectations. Or, in an effort to defend themselves, they might act out in ways that simply end up confirming the assumptions people have made about them.
Vivian triumphed, and by the end of the book it seems Molly will as well.
I think a lot about the people who don't.
But--and I'm lucky this is actually in my job description--I also think a lot about how they still can.
Sometimes I tear up in those real life places, too.