In The Glass Palace, how does Rajkumar become a reinvented human being?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In The Glass Palace, Rajkumar becomes a reinvented human being because of his rise from destitute orphan to financially established merchant.

Rajkumar starts off poor.  As a result of his parents' deaths, he has to live as an orphan. He has no real means of income and is forced to work at a food stall in the market of Mandalay.  His narrative is no different than millions of others who have left villages and are forced to settle into the urban centers of South East Asia.

However, over time, he reinvents himself.  He works closely with Saya John as a mentor.  While Rajkumar has no formal education, he ends up gaining insight and understanding into business. Through his work with Saya John in the timber industry, he establishes wealth and success.  This is one way in which he regenerates his identity.  From one who is poor and devoid of hope, he establishes his own economic prosperity.

The boy who first sees Dolly is incapable of standing on his own.  He falls in love with her and recognizes that reinvention is the only way he is going to be close to her.  The development of his financial net worth is what makes this alignment possible.  When he calls upon her decades later, he is a different man.  The acquisition of his fortune plays a definitive role in his reconfiguration as a human being.

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