Journey in Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy

Growing up during a time of violent political upheaval in Sri Lanka, Arjie travels an especially bittersweet journey into maturation in Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy. The adults in Arjie’s extended family mostly belong to an older, more conservative generation that attempts to fit Arjie into society’s norms. The adults that Arjie meets in the community through his family are individuals who prompt him to see past the confines of his childhood, and it is Arjie’s peers who give him the extra push to understanding himself. With guidance from his extended family, his adult friends, and his peers, Arjie is able to discover his identity through understanding the impact of race and gender on his life.

Although spend-the-day occurs but once a month, Ammachi has a commanding presence in Arjie’s life. While Appachi hides behind his newspapers, Ammachi is “enthroned in big reclining chairs” (Selvadurai, 2), her canes inspiring awe in her grandchildren. When Arjie is caught dressed in a sari while playing bride-br...

... middle of paper ...

... confusing, but it nevertheless serves to guide Arjie through the growing up process. The lives of family friends merge with Arjie’s for only short periods of time, yet the values that these friends cherish linger on in Arjie’s conscience. Arjie’s peers grow up with him seeing the world through eyes that are near in age, thus their views on race and gender truly open Arjie’s eyes during his journey into maturation in Selvadurai’s Funny Boy.

Works Cited

Selvadurai, Shyam. Funny Boy. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart Inc., 1994.