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In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel Themes & Motifs

Vaddey Ratner
This Study Guide consists of approximately 62 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of In the Shadow of the Banyan.
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Arbitrary Class Distinctions

Throughout the novel, the author encourages readers to consider the unfairness, or perhaps validity, of assigning people to a specific social and economic class for the rest of their lives based solely off the luck of their birth family. At the beginning of the novel, we see the luxury of the Sisowaths' lifestyle; they have servants, fine foods, and a nice house because they are royals. While the Sisowaths are portrayed favorably, especially the self-aware and compassionate Ayuravann questions why he should have so many privileges because of something -- his birth -- that he did not control or earn.

In contrast, the poor characters in the novel are also portrayed sympathetically. While some of the uneducated and poor soldiers are not described with complexity or understanding, the old sweeper, Mae, and Pok are almost angelic in their willingness to put their own needs...

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This section contains 1,522 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel Study Guide
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