The central character in The Glass Palace novel is Dolly. She is the only one character whose entire generation is mentioned in the novel. She strives hard to live up to her family to maintain the good name the family has earned in the community. Dolly is one of the most compelling characters in The Glass Palace, and the one besides Rajkumar that the reader follows throughout the course of the novel.
Dolly is the heroine of the novel. In this novel she is introduced as a nine-year old girl who looks after the younger princess. Gradually, from a child she grows into an attractive young girl. A local man named Sawant takes charge of the servants. Dolly loses her virginity to Sawant. Then she attains mental and physical maturity. Uma her friend coaxes her to marry Rajkumar.
Dolly gives birth to Neel and Dinu. Dolly nurses Dinu perceiving her role as a mother more important than that of a wife. A feeling of emptiness spreads when her elder son Neel dies. But she gracefully accepts the pain and suffering. A visit to the Buddhist nunnery reveals her strong desire for renunciation. She proves her indomitable spirit and strength of convictions in entering the monastery and withdrawing from the world. Her weakness is her source of strength. She stands for courage, honour, hope, compassion and sacrifice. Her spirit lifts other characters.
Dolly, as a daughter, as a wife, and as a mother shows that woman can fulfill herself in a loving relationship with others. Her way of life reveals her affection towards her family.
Dolly like Raj Kumar is an orphan. She is a maid who looks after the princesses. At that tender age, Raj Kumar is struck by this girl. He offers her some sweets. Soon he sees her sharing those sweets with a soldier. Raj Kumar feels angry but soon learns a lesson. ̳Dolly was doing exactly what had to be done.
Dolly is steadfast in her loyalty to the royal family. She remains with them in the most critical circumstances. One by one all the maids and servants leave the royal family and go back to Burma but Dolly does not do so. This may partly be due to the fact that she has nowhere to go to. Yet the sincerity of her nature cannot be denied. Her life is an appendage, a depending extension of the royal family. Sex comes as a handy rescue for this young girl to maintain her sanity. The novelist chooses to go in detail regarding Dolly’s first exposure to the life of the body. Sawant is the local servant of the king. He is the chief servant. He is the natural choice for Dolly and she of him. But soon they are caught by the first Princess who herself is growing into a woman and is also in need of engagement of some sort. To cut a long tale short, the first princess snatches Sawant and her pregnancy is dramatically announced. By this time collector Dey and his wife have arrived on the scene. The collector is responsible for the well – being of the royal family. Dolly is a home bird, more reclusive, whereas Raj Kumar is always busy with expanding and increasing his business.