Q. Analyse the Character of Arjie in Funny Boy.
Selvadurai’s debut novel, Funny Boy explores a Sri-Lankan Tamil boy’s life and his transition to adolescence as he comes to terms with his sexual identity. Set against the backdrop of the Sri-Lankan civil war, the book explores themes like homosexuality, nationality, identity, and violence. Selvadurai masterfully connects Arjie’s life story with the politics of post-colonial Sri Lanka which was steeped in ethnic rivalries, political tensions, and communal violence between the Sinhala and Tamil communities. … (Read More)
Q. Explain the Importance of the Title “Funny Boy”.
Funny Boy is a coming-of-age novel by Sri Lankan-Canadian author Shyam Selvadurai. First published by McClelland and Stewart in September 1994, the novel won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction and the Books in Canada First Novel Award.
Shyam Selvadurair’s Funny Boy is narrated from an adolescent’s perspective, where the presumed innocence and naivety of the child offers an alternative view to the political, cultural, social and historical tensions in India and Sri Lanka and the effect that it has on the developing child in terms of identity. The child narrator in each text is an outsider as they do not merge with the cultural norms imposed upon by society. Arjie, the product of an upper-class Tamil family in Funny Boy, crosses borders in his awakening as a homosexual, falling in love with a Sinhalese, despite his parents attempt to create a masculine identity for him, in order that he may abide by the boundaries and social order that has been imposed upon him. The need to understand identity determines the characters individual relationship to the tensions surrounding them. Although children might not understand what is going on, they offer a new angle in which the readers may make sense of what they are being told and how it is important to the work as a whole. … (Read More)
Q. Examine the Queer Elements in the Novel Funny Boy.
‘Queer,’ the umbrella term represents the identity of homosexuals. Gay and lesbians are proud enough to say that they belong to queer sexuality. Moreover, it does not fit them into either biological needs or into gender roles. Queer theory differs from gender theory and gay and lesbian studies, but brings out concerns dealing with definitions of man, woman and sexuality. It questions the fixed paradigms on sexual identity developed on normal ideology of sex. Writers like Mahesh Dattani, Alice Walker, Shobha De etc., are some of the eminent authors who write about queerness in their works. … (Read More)
Q. What were the Difficulties Faced by Arjie in His Childhood?
A coming-of-age story revolves around the growth and development of a protagonist, from adolescence to adulthood. There are many themes that distinguish this sort of story but one of them is the theme of exile. Funny Boy is such a coming-of-age story. It follows the protagonist Arjie’s growth from a boy of seven years into his late teens. It is a story about exiles on several levels. The novel’s author Shyam Selvadurai uses the term much more literarily and the turning points in Arjie’s life are much more multifaceted than in a traditional coming-of-age story. … (Read More)
Q. Discuss Briefly the Ending of the Novel, Funny Boy.
The last chapter of ‘Funny Boy’ is an epilogue to 1983 ‘Black July’. This can be considered as a deviation of Selvadurai’s narrative style which he has followed so far. This structure keeps the reader’s curiosity, suspense and eagerness to proceed with the text. Here Selvadurai provides historical evidence for the fact that the riots of 1983 were led by government sponsored groups. … (Read More)
Q. Write a Note on the Character of Radha Aunty in Funny Boy.
Radha Aunty is the youngest sister of Arjie’s father; she is the only open-minded family member, and that is why Arjie loves her the most. Radha Aunty returns from America, and soon falls in love with Anil, who is from the Sinhalese community. She wants to marry him but her family is hostile to the idea, so Ammachi is forced to send her to Jaffna to stay with other relatives. During her journey back from Jaffna to Colombo, her train is attacked by Sinhala fanatics. She breaks up with Anil and marries Rajan Nagendra, a safe Tamil choice. … (Read More)