Sara approaches life from the point of view of what is truly important to her – compassion for other people, kindness even in the midst of emotional turmoil, and her parents. When she finds out her father is dead, she goes silent as if she is closing off the entire outside world, and mourns deep inside herself without ever saying a word about it, by shedding one quiet tear. Her most treasured possession is her locket with the portrait of her mother and father inside it, and she insists on keeping it even though jewelry isn’t allowed. Sara allows her emotions to infuse every aspect of her life, and fuel her imagination – when she is sad, her stories stop; in all other times, her stories reflect her emotions. Rather than talking about them directly, she shares them through the symbolism of her ongoing story, and suffers in silence. Her imagination allows her to create stories at the spur of the moment; if she doesn’t like how a book ends, she makes up a happier ending, full of mermaids, daring adventures, and true love. Sara is able to see beyond the harsh realities of her poverty and imagine beautiful things, luxurious surroundings, and fine food. She encourages others to do the same, and is happy to entertain them. Many of her stories are gently metaphorical, illustrating her unhappiness and her hopes and dreams for the future. She dearly misses India, and takes comfort in things that remind her of home – certain books, toys, stories, and memories. Sara uses many of the stories her Indian nanny told her to help create her own, and is able to remember the tastes, sounds, and sights of India. Once given beautiful things that just appear like magic out of thin air, Sara embraces them and makes up stories about them, rather than question where they came from. The rigid rules and schedule of the school perturb her, and she finds it difficult to ascribe to them. Sara is comfortable acting on her feelings, often in silence – she gives her cinnamon roll away to children in need, and the rose she received in gratitude to her neighbor who has just lost his son. When faced with the threat of arrest, she figures out a way out of her situation – by tearing a board off her wall and using it to escape across the roof. The only time she is blunt is when she confronts the woman who runs the boarding school, and demands to know why she is so unkind (“Didn’t your father ever treat you like a princess?”).

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Sara is gentle and compassionate from the first moment she arrives; she calmly walks up the stairs and tells one child, who is screaming her head off, that it’s very hard to study when things are so loud, then tells her a story to calm her down and soothe her into feeling all right. She meekly follows the instructions given to her, doing all her chores and taking abuse from the other children without complaint (though she does get tired of it and pretends to put a curse on one of them). She tries to remain positive and happy even when her world has collapsed by focusing on the good in her life—her own imagination and desire to create imaginary worlds to entertain herself with that she can live in to escape the outside harshness and reality. A kind girl to her very soul, when she learns their neighbor, whom she has never met, has lost his son in the war, she leaves him a rose she received in the marketplace to help mourn the occasion. Sara does not like conflict or to be upset herself; she tries to greet everything with hope and joy, even taking pleasure in the small wonders of her existence, like the first snow or in waving to the Indian servant across the street. She tries to do what is right, is principled, works hard, and is upset when accused of stealing, because she knows it is not true and she doesn’t deserve punishment for it.