The Shadow Of The Banyan Essay

1414 Words Apr 14th, 2016 6 Pages
Words have a lot of power. They can hurt and kill as Markus Zusak puts it plainly: “The injury of words. Yes, the brutality of words” (Zusak 262). But Vaddey Ratner teaches us that words can have beauty too. In her work of historical fiction, In the Shadow of The Banyan, Ratner eloquently describes the horrors of the Khmer Rouge’s reign and how it affects the lives of the protagonist, Raami, and her family. Raami is a young Cambodian girl from a wealthy upper-class family. Her father, Papa, is a kind and generous prince and his wife, Mama, is loving, strong, and proud. When the Khmer Rouge takes over and strips them of their comfortable lives and luxuries, we see their true colors as they fight to survive. They are also struggling to keep their kids alive, and the way they do this is with words. In Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, Mama, Papa, and Raamis’ words are powerful because they help Raami stay alive by giving her strength and hope, which she gets because the words come from people she trusts. Mama’s infrequent words and stories keep Raami alive by teaching lessons about life and love, as well as keeping her grounded by sharing stories of her own tragedies so Raami will feel less alone. Partway through Ratner’s narrative, Raami’s little sister dies and her death opens something in Mama that makes her want to share her story. She begins to tell Raami about her childhood, which she has never done before. She tells her: “’Love was your reality, and you…

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