In the Prologue to ‘Orphan Train’, by Christina Baker Kline, the narrator’s very first words state that: “I believe in ghosts, They’re the ones who haunt us, the ones who have left us behind. . . . Sometimes these spirits have been more real to me than people, more real than God.” This passage might be spun in interesting ways and made to tie into both of the classes I am teaching this semester. For my ‘Myth, Tragedy, and Politics’ class, the words of Vivian (the first-person narrator of the above lines) throughout the novel offer some potent ideas about personal history, memory, writing, the “legends” of the past, and the myth-making we all do to order and understand our lives. For my ‘Power and Society’ class the harrowing story of the orphan Vivian (who endured her ride on the orphan train in 1929 and the harsh events that followed) and her modern-day counterpart Molly (who has a hard time navigating and tolerating the challenges of the U.S. Social Services) speaks to interesting issues of power, such as the authority of the state, the politics of parenting, the dire state of many orphanages and foster-parent arrangements, and the role of schools in adolescent lives. Bearing in mind such issues, this Blog post is going to be a little different than what we have done so far this semester. In this case, I want you to carefully respond to the common reading for Stockton freshman (that being ‘Orphan Train’). Your response may do one of two things: 1) Offer some commentary in the wake of the author’s lecture at the Freshman Convocation (on Thursday the 25th ). Tell us, what did Christina Baker Kline say that really touched a nerve with you? What did you find interesting about her lecture, and what was invigorating about the entire Freshman Convocation event? Why? I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts about this talk! 2) If you aren’t able to attend the lecture or would rather discuss the book, then I’d like you to do just that. So, choose a particular moment in the book that brings rise to a particular issue, and tell us how/why it ties in with the topics and themes of your Freshman Seminar. You might quote from the book itself, and then discuss what the book seems to suggest in your chosen moment about the issue (relative to power, on the one hand, or myths/legends/heroes on the other) – what is Baker Kline saying and doing in your selected moment, and why? Also, what thoughts do YOU have about the subject – how do YOU respond to the issue based on your own knowledge or experience?