Beyond the Senses Essay

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Beyond the Senses The spiritual world of Raami in Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan Our presence in this world and the things around us are not always defined by how we see them or how we recognize them. We are bathed in an essence of being, it is up to our perception to recognize and fully interpret this idea of life. Because one does not have the ability to touch, taste, feel or see does not necessarily mean it is not in existence. In the absence of something, someone, there is still a spirit, a floating memoir, keeping whatever it is they left behind here in this present intact. This spirit can be manifested in unthinkable ways and often times unbeknownst to us we are encapsulated by it. In Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan we see the Khmer Rouge’s thirst for power take over the life of Raami, a seven year old girl. Although young, she basks in thoughts and feelings beyond the world she is exposed to. Her story sees her beginning as a young naïve girl without a care in the world, in the bloodline of royalty. When the Revolution comes things change and her old life is stripped from her as she is forced to work in grueling conditions throughout the villages of Cambodia and witness the death of countless people close to her heart. She finds it within herself to overcome, push past and stay positive even with the immense loss she suffers. Raami’s connection to the spiritual world allows her to endure the adversity genocide in Cambodia brings. With the help of his poetry and storytelling Raami is able to connect with her father in a spiritual sense, the connection they share is everlasting beyond the last moment she sees him in the flesh. Her one constancy is finally taken from her for when Papa risks his own life in hopes of masking his family’s identity from the organization. With no absolute presence to reassure her, her world becomes a

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