Funny Boy

Arjie Character Analysis

Arjun Chelvaratnam, called “Arjie” by his friends and family members, is the narrator and protagonist of Funny Boy. A Sri Lankan Tamil raised in Colombo with his sister Sonali and brother Diggy, Arjie is clearly unlike other boys from his earliest years. Barely interested in traditionally masculine pursuits, Arjie is more fond of acting out weddings and reading Little Women than playing cricket or rugger. He develops a long-standing mix of curiosity and shame about this difference, and as he grows up throughout the book, he begins to discover his attraction to men. But when he sees Radha Aunty marry Rajan instead of Anil and Amma reunite with Daryl Uncle while Appa is away, Arjie begins to lose faith in the storybook image of romantic love he learned from Janaki’s Sinhala comic books. Ironically, he finds love only after his father sends him to the prestigious Queen Victoria Academy to make him more of “a man”; he meets a boy at the school named Shehan, although they eventually grow apart while Arjie waits to leave Sri Lanka for Canada. He has to make this move at the end of the book because his Tamil family is under persecution during the early days of the Sri Lankan Civil War; throughout the book’s earlier sections, he also gradually learns about Sri Lanka’s ethnic tensions and begins to recognize the racism in his community and his own family. Although he is Tamil, he only speaks Sinhala and English, and so feels relatively disconnected from the nationalistic sentiments that lead people like Jegan and Ammachi to support the Tamil Tigers, although he intimately understands the oppression his Tamil minority faces. As he watches his family members and acquaintances suffer violence because of their ethnicity, gender, or commitment to justice, Arjie also develops a more complex moral outlook during the book. Although the book ends with Arjie’s move to Canada at a relatively young age, he sees and experiences a lifetime’s worth of turmoil and injustice during his youth, which clearly instills in him both a sense of moral purpose and an instinct for pursuing that moral purpose carefully and realistically.

Arjie Quotes in Funny Boy

The Funny Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Arjie or refer to Arjie. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Funny Boy published in 1994.
1. Pigs Can’t Fly Quotes

From my sling-bag I would bring out my most prized possession, an old white sari, slightly yellow with age, its border torn and missing most of its sequins. The dressing of the bride would now begin, and then, by the transfiguration I saw taking place in Janaki’s cracked full-length mirror—by the sari being wrapped around my body, the veil being pinned to my head, the rouge put on my cheeks, lipstick on my lips, kohl around my eyes—I was able to leave the constraints of my self and ascend into another, more brilliant, more beautiful self, a self to whom this day was dedicated, and around whom the world, represented by my cousins putting flowers in my hair, draping the palu, seemed to revolve. It was a self magnified, like the goddesses of the Sinhalese and Tamil cinema, larger than life; and like them, like the Malini Fonsekas and the Geetha Kumarasinghes, I was an icon, a graceful, benevolent, perfect being upon whom the adoring eyes of the world rested.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Janaki
Related Symbols: The Bride-Bride Sari
Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:
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Her Fatness looked at all of us for a moment and then her gaze rested on me.

“You’re a pansy,” she said, her lips curling in disgust.

We looked at her blankly.

“A faggot,” she said, her voice rising against our uncomprehending stares.

“A sissy!” she shouted in desperation.

It was clear by this time that these were insults.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Tanuja / Her Fatness (speaker), Sonali
Related Symbols: The Bride-Bride Sari
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
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It was clear to me that I had done something wrong, but what it was I couldn’t comprehend. I thought of what my father had said about turning out “funny.” The word “funny” as I understood it meant either humorous or strange, as in the expression “That’s funny.” Neither of these fitted the sense in which my father had used the word, for there had been a hint of disgust in his tone.

Later, Amma came out of her room and called Anula to give her instructions for the evening. As I listened to the sound of her voice, I realized that something had changed forever between us.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Amma, Appa, Kanthi Aunty, Cyril Uncle, Anula
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
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2. Radha Aunty Quotes

This was not how a bride-to-be was supposed to behave. It was unthinkable that a woman who was on the brink of marriage could look like this and play the piano so badly.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Radha Aunty
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Because he’s an engineer and he doesn’t have insanity in his family."

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Radha Aunty, Ammachi, Anil Jayasinghe, Rajan Nagendra
Page Number: 49-50
Explanation and Analysis:
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Radha Aunty didn’t answer for a moment. “Until a few days ago I only thought of Rajan, but now I find myself thinking of Anil as well.”

Mala Aunty sighed. “It’ll never work.”

“But other Sinhalese and Tamil people get married.”

“I know,” Mala Aunty replied, “but they have their par­ents’ consent.

“If two people love each other, the rest is unimportant.”

“No, it isn’t. Ultimately, you have to live in the real world. And without your family you are nothing.”

Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
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3. See No Evil, Hear No Evil Quotes

“You’re putting your life at risk for nothing,” Amma insisted.

“It’s not nothing,” Daryl Uncle said. “People are being tortured and killed even as we sit in all this opulence.”

Related Characters: Amma (speaker), Daryl Uncle (speaker), Arjie, Appa
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
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As I looked around me, I felt an odd sensation. Our daily routine had been cast away, while the rest of the world was going on as usual. A man I had known, a man who was my mother’s lover, was now dead. I was aware that it was a significant thing, a momentous event in my life even, but, like a newspaper report on an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, it seemed something that happened outside my reality, my world.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Amma, Daryl Uncle
Page Number: 132-133
Explanation and Analysis:
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“So what must we do?”

“Nothing, my dear,” he said sadly.

Amma looked at him, shocked. “Nothing?” she said.

“These days one must be like the three wise monkeys. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

Related Characters: Amma (speaker), Arjie, Daryl Uncle
Page Number: 137-138
Explanation and Analysis:
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4. Small Choices Quotes

My father chuckled. “I don’t see any police out there, do you?” He poured himself another drink. “It’s not just our luscious beaches that keep the tourist industry going, you know. We have other natural resources as well.”

Related Characters: Appa (speaker), Arjie, Jegan Parameswaran
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:
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“How do you know he’s innocent?” my father asked. “We can’t be a hundred percent sure.”

“You mean you honestly think he’s guilty?” Amma asked, astonished.

My father was silent. We all stared at him, angry and hurt that he would really believe this.

“Look,” my father eventually said, “the best thing is to get as little involved as possible. If they find out that Jegan is connected to the assassination attempt, we could be accused of harboring a terrorist.”

“Nonsense,” Amma said. “Why would they accuse us?”

“These days, every Tamil is a Tiger until proven otherwise.”

Related Characters: Amma (speaker), Appa (speaker), Arjie, Jegan Parameswaran
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:
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"You know,” she said, “I’ve been thinking about emigration.”

My father looked at her in shock.

“Canada and Australia are opening their doors. It would be a good time to apply. For the sake of the children.”

My father shook his head emphatically. “I’ll never emigrate. I’ve seen the way our people live in foreign countries.”

“It’s better than living in this terrible uncertainty.”

He turned to Amma angrily. “How can you want to emigrate? You saw the way our friends lived when we went to America. They come here and flash their dollars around, but over there they’re nothing.”

“It’s not a question of wanting or not wanting to go. We have to think about the children.”

“Don’t worry,” my father said. “Things will work out.”

And then after a while, “Besides, what would I do there? The only job I’d be fit for would be a taxi driver or a petrol station man.”

Related Characters: Amma (speaker), Appa (speaker), Arjie, Daryl Uncle, Diggy, The Banduratne Mudalali, Sonali
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:
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I was angry by now, but at whom I didn’t know. I thought about my father, but I couldn’t feel angry at him, because, when I remembered that yellowed piece of paper and the promise he had made to Jegan’s father, I actually felt sorry for him. I thought of the number of times he had abandoned his promise, how he had left Jegan in jail overnight, how he had taken the side of the office peon against him, and I wondered if he had actually had a choice in any of these matters. I thought, too, of how Jegan had said that his father was so proud of my father’s achievements, and I wondered what his father would think if he were alive now and could see what a mess everything had come to.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Appa, Jegan Parameswaran
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
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5. The Best School of All Quotes

“The Academy will force you to become a man,” he said. Sonali, Amma, and Neliya Aunty smiled at me sympathetically before they continued with their meal. Diggy had a look on his face that told me he understood all the things my father had not said.

Related Characters: Appa (speaker), Arjie, Amma, Diggy, Neliya Auntie, Sonali
Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:
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Then the meaning of what Diggy had said hit me, and a realization began to take shape in my mind. A fact so startling that it made my head spin just to think about it. The difference within me that I sometimes felt I had, that had brought me so much confusion, whatever this difference, it was shared by Shehan. I felt amazed that a normal thing—like my friendship with Shehan—could have such powerful and hidden possibilities. I found myself thinking about that moment Shehan had kissed me and also of how he had lain on his bed, waiting for me to carry something through. I now knew that the kiss was somehow connected to what we had in common, and Shehan had known this all along.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Shehan Soyza, Diggy
Page Number: 250
Explanation and Analysis:
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I looked around at my family and I saw that I had committed a terrible crime against them, against the trust and love they had given me. I glanced at Amma and imagined what her reaction would have been had she discovered us, the profound expression of hurt that would have come over her face. She noticed that I was studying her, and she smiled. I looked down at my plate, feeling my heart clench painfully at the contrast between the innocence of her smile and the dreadful act I had just committed. I wanted to cry out what I had done, beg to be absolved of my crime, but the deed was already done and it couldn’t be taken back. Now I understood my father’s concern, why there had been such worry in his voice whenever he talked about me. He had been right to try to protect me from what he feared was inside me, but he had failed. What I had done in the garage had moved me beyond his hand.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Amma, Appa, Shehan Soyza, Diggy
Page Number: 256-257
Explanation and Analysis:
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I felt bitter at the thought that the students he punished were probably the least deserving. They were the ones who had broken his rules—no blinking, no licking of lips, no long hair—a code that was unfair. Right and wrong, fair and unfair had nothing to do with how things really were. I thought of Shehan and myself. What had happened between us in the garage was not wrong. For how could loving Shehan be bad? Yet if my parents or anybody else discovered this love, I would be in terrible trouble. I thought of how unfair this was and I was reminded of things I had seen happen to other people, like Jegan, or even Radha Aunty, who, in their own way, had experienced injustice. How was it that some people got to decide what was correct or not, just or unjust? It had to do with who was in charge; everything had to do with who held power and who didn’t.

Page Number: 268-269
Explanation and Analysis:
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Black Tie needed me, and because he needed me, power had moved into my hands.

I looked at Black Tie and realized that any fear of him had disappeared.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Black Tie, Mr. Lokubandara
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
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6. Riot Journal: An Epilogue Quotes

Chithra Aunty began to cry. Amma went to her and tried to comfort her. There was something ironic about that. Amma comforting Chithra Aunty. Yet I understood it. Chithra Aunty was free to cry. We couldn’t, for if we started we would never stop.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Amma, Appa, Sena Uncle, Chithra Aunty
Related Symbols: Arjie’s Burned-Down House
Page Number: 292
Explanation and Analysis:
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He was trying to cheer me up, and as I listened to him talk, something occurred to me that I had never really been conscious of before—Shehan was Sinhalese and I was not. This awareness did not change my feelings for him, it was simply there, like a thin translucent screen through which I watched him.

Related Characters: Arjie (speaker), Shehan Soyza, Sena Uncle, Chithra Aunty
Related Symbols: Arjie’s Burned-Down House
Page Number: 296-297
Explanation and Analysis:
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Arjie Character Timeline in Funny Boy

The timeline below shows where the character Arjie appears in Funny Boy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Pigs Can’t Fly
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
The narrator, Arjie, recalls his family cherishing their monthly Sunday “spend-the-day.” After waking Arjie, his brother Varuna, and... (full context)
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...his nose-picking, who leads the other. “The girls” get the area behind the house, and Arjie inevitably gravitates there, for he prefers “the free play of fantasy” to the boys’ cricket... (full context)
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In fact, Arjie always ends up as the fantasy games’ leader, orchestrating the girls as they make costumes... (full context)
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Looking back on the “spend-the-days,” Arjie feels nostalgic for his childhood innocence, given that his family eventually had to flee Sri... (full context)
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Things change at Arjie’s grandparents’ house with the arrival of Kanthi Aunty, Cyril Uncle, and Tanuja, their daughter, whom... (full context)
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Ammachi opens her present and the kids leave to play. Arjie finds the girls circled around Her Fatness’s beautiful imported dolls, the girl’s attempt to win... (full context)
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The girls begin their wedding ceremony, but just as Arjie makes it to the altar, Kanthi Aunty shows up and accuses the girls: “who’s calling... (full context)
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On occasions that call for special dress, Arjie always watches Amma get ready; he considers her “the final statement in female beauty.” He... (full context)
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The morning before the next spend-the-day, Arjie can tell that Amma does not want him to bring his sari. After breakfast, Amma... (full context)
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Amma tells Arjie to be in the car in five minutes, and he worries that Her Fatness will... (full context)
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During the car ride, Diggy’s discomfort signals that he will definitely (if reluctantly) force Arjie to play cricket. After they arrive and ritualistically greet their grandparents, Diggy drags Arjie to... (full context)
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Diggy had struck a “fragile balance” between obeying Amma and keeping his cricket team—but Arjie quickly overturned this balance by insisting on batting when his name gets drawn first (instead... (full context)
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Arjie makes his way to the girls’ territory, where he realizes that Her Fatness has usurped... (full context)
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As the groom, Arjie is not allowed to help with the cooking, but instead relegated to the office, a... (full context)
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Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
But the sari is not inside Sonali’s bag; Arjie realizes that Her Fatness has already discovered and hidden it in Janaki’s room. They race... (full context)
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Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...children quiet.” Her Fatness starts crying, Ammachi sees her torn dress sleeve, and she names Arjie as the culprit. Ammachi canes Arjie, who screams that it is unfair and calls her... (full context)
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Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
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Eventually, Arjie stops crying and gets off the burning rocks. He wades into the ocean, silver and... (full context)
2. Radha Aunty
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...thrilled to hear that Rajan is a well-paid, well-behaved engineer from a good family. And Arjie is thrilled: “there was going to be a wedding in the family!” Finally, he can... (full context)
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Arjie, now age seven, does not even remember how Radha Aunty looks, since she went to... (full context)
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The first spend-the-day after Radha Aunty returns to Sri Lanka, Arjie wakes up excited to finally meet her. When his family arrives at Ammachi and Appachi’s... (full context)
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Radha Aunty asks Arjie why he is not “playing with the others,” and he lies that he does not... (full context)
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At one point in the afternoon, Arjie asks Radha Aunty when she is to marry Rajan, and she jokingly pretends not to... (full context)
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...Her Fatness talks loudly about her bride-bride plans, wearing a bedsheet instead of a sari. Arjie imagines Radha Aunty dressed up for her actual wedding and feels “a glow of pride”... (full context)
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Some time later, Amma invites Arjie to play one of the King of Siam’s children in The King and I, a... (full context)
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On weekends, Arjie goes to Sonali’s girls’ school for rehearsals, where Radha Aunty introduces him to Aunty Doris,... (full context)
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...and laments that “people will talk,” and this might threaten Radha’s engagement to Rajan. As Arjie follows Radha away, he wonders what is wrong with being Sinhalese—he was learning Sinhala at... (full context)
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Arjie asks his father what “racist” means and what happened with the dead body. Appa dodges... (full context)
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...her daughter. Radha decides to go apologize later that day and Janaki suggests she bring Arjie to avoid suspicion. That night at the beach with the rest of the cousins, Arjie... (full context)
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Anil invites Radha Aunty and Arjie inside, and then Anil’s father comes in and sends Anil to go put on a... (full context)
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At lunchtime, rather than ride with Anil, Radha insists on taking the bus, to Arjie’s confusion. At lunch, Radha and Arjie take the only available seat, which happens to be... (full context)
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The aunts reach Anil, Radha, and Arjie’s table; Kanthi Aunty asks, “what are you doing here?” but Mala Aunty escorts Kanthi Aunty... (full context)
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...waiting at the dining table. Radha Aunty briefly stops in her room and then follows Arjie to dinner. Ammachi explains that she is calling Aunty Doris to have Radha removed from... (full context)
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From the house’s side garden, Arjie listens to Radha and Mala talk. Radha admits that she was never interested in Anil... (full context)
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On the way home, Arjie imagines Aunty Doris’s experience losing her family, and he realizes that this is “a warning... (full context)
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Radha Aunty continues meeting with Anil in secret—even Arjie’s bathroom break at the zoo turns into a rendezvous at the “elephant-dance arena.” When she... (full context)
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After Radha Aunty leaves for Jaffna, Arjie has to go to the play rehearsals alone, but feels “lost and alone” and does... (full context)
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...to take Radha to the train station. After rehearsal, however, Amma does not come get Arjie, and Anil gives him a ride to Ammachi and Appachi’s house, where the whole family... (full context)
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Back in the house, Arjie notices a photo of Ammachi’s father, who was murdered in the 1950s riots, and realizes... (full context)
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...who is a doctor, examines her wound and determines that she will not need stitches. Arjie goes to get her a new bandage but stops in the dining room to hear... (full context)
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Because there was already violence near Arjie’s grandparents’ house, his immediate family brought Ammachi, Appachi, and Radha Aunty to stay with them... (full context)
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After the next scene, Arjie and Anil notice that Radha Aunty is gone, and then find her crying outside the... (full context)
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...the night of their engagement, Radha is beautifully made up and dressed, finally looking like Arjie imagined when he first heard about her return from America. The Nagendras arrive; Rajan is... (full context)
3. See No Evil, Hear No Evil
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Arjie’s parents begin going with their friends Sena Uncle and Chithra Aunty to the Oberoi Supper... (full context)
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As Arjie’s family grows wealthier, Appa goes to Europe, and he asks the children what they want... (full context)
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Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
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...15 years away from Sri Lanka, Daryl—a white Burgher—returns on vacation, on a day when Arjie is sick with fever. Everyone is glad to see him until Amma comes home—she reacts... (full context)
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In the morning, Arjie’s fever and Amma’s concern evaporate. But Daryl Uncle visits soon again, and he asks Arjie... (full context)
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Neliya Aunty comes into the room, and Arjie calls out to Amma in an attempt to stop her argument with Daryl Uncle. Amma... (full context)
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Mala Aunty confirms that Arjie has hepatitis, and during the subsequent two weeks he is extremely ill. During this time,... (full context)
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Amma and Arjie rent a beautiful bungalow in the hills. They pass the first day quietly, enjoying the... (full context)
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...he feels obligated to go to cover the war, even though he loves her. Suddenly, Arjie understands Daryl and Amma’s relationship, and he feels like “an unwitting accomplice” in their affair.... (full context)
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Arjie returns to school, and Amma comes with Daryl to pick him up on the first... (full context)
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The following day, Amma takes Arjie to the police station. When she says her friend is a “white man,” the officer... (full context)
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...him in for questioning, accidentally knocking off his sarong and exposing him in the process. Arjie wonders whether it was right to trust the police. (full context)
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...go identify Daryl Uncle’s body, which “washed ashore on the beach of a fishing village.” Arjie struggles to process the shock of Daryl’s death, as everyone else around him continues their... (full context)
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...why she was so optimistic about the new government. She is still in shock, and Arjie wishes she could cry, which “would have seemed more natural.” After another dream about Little... (full context)
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...click Q.C. Uncle warned her about when she calls Mala Aunty. That night, she tells Arjie she is going to find Somaratne, the servant boy, in his village. She agrees to... (full context)
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During their drive to Somaratne’s village, Amma and Arjie notice a blue car following them. Fortunately, when they pull over, it continues past them.... (full context)
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As Arjie and Amma head back to their car, the villagers start throwing stones at them. One... (full context)
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...Amma. She gives him little information about Daryl’s project or his death, and he leaves. Arjie feels “a terrible sadness” at seeing his mother lie and realizing that “Daryl Uncle’s killer... (full context)
4. Small Choices
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...decides he will ask the boy about politics before hiring him. As Appa walks away, Arjie considers how distant but powerful he always had been to the children. (full context)
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...the family’s house a few days later. While Neliya Aunty goes inside to fetch Appa, Arjie “smile[s] shyly” at Jegan and explains that he and Sonali are picking snails out of... (full context)
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Arjie sits and watches Jegan, fixing his gaze on his muscles; although Jegan notices Arjie looking,... (full context)
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...Jegan starts working with Appa, the two become “inseparable,” even taking drinks together every evening. Arjie starts listening to their conversations from the verandah, and Appa soon starts revealing details from... (full context)
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Jegan also grows close to Arjie, recounting his time in the Gandhiyam organization and inspiring Arjie to live more purposefully. Over... (full context)
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One day, Arjie, Sonali, and Diggy see someone sticking a poster of a lamp on their wall—in the... (full context)
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...a small, poor town three hours from Colombo. After their inspection, Jegan and Appa invite Arjie to sit with them for their evening drink; Jegan mentions that he noticed a lot... (full context)
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The next day, Arjie sees Jegan bring the manager to Amma and Appa’s room at the hotel. Jegan complains... (full context)
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Arjie now sees “an immediate and frightening dimension” to the riots that were previously a distant... (full context)
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Arjie calls Jegan over, and Jegan suggests they go for a walk on the beach, which... (full context)
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Arjie and Jegan grow closer; after they return to Colombo, they start going jogging every evening.... (full context)
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After a few days, Arjie learns what was bothering Jegan. The police visit the family’s house during the day, trying... (full context)
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...to at the racetrack were Tigers “planning to assassinate a prominent Tamil politician.” He makes Arjie recount “exactly what [he] saw” that day. After, Amma declares that Jegan must be innocent,... (full context)
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...them to let him be in peace and Amma sent him upstairs for a bath—and Arjie to bring him a clean towel. Upstairs, Arjie finds Jegan crying, motionless, on the bed.... (full context)
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...and on their jog that night, Jegan is strangely quiet and runs well ahead of Arjie, who “realize[s] that something had indeed happened at the office.” At work, Jegan gets into... (full context)
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That night, Arjie hears Appa explaining the incident to Amma, who thinks he “should have taken Jegan’s side.”... (full context)
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Before dinner, Arjie, Diggy, and Sonali worry about whether they will be attacked. They eat solemnly and, afterward,... (full context)
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...it, we might be in trouble next.” Amma says she will do it herself and Arjie goes with her. She tells Jegan to pull himself together so the staff does not... (full context)
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...and when they return, Appa has not moved and is still holding his whiskey. Later, Arjie overhears Sena Uncle and Appa talk about firing Jegan and sending him abroad to the... (full context)
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Arjie goes for a walk on the beach and is angry, “but at whom [he doesn’t]... (full context)
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Back at the hotel, Arjie sees Jegan packing his things onto the car. Jegan dismissively mentions his firing, and Arjie... (full context)
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Back in Colombo, Jegan avoids the family and then moves out the next day. Arjie asks Amma if he said anything before leaving, but she says he did not. Arjie... (full context)
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...night, Amma brings up immigration again, but Appa refuses to consider it. Looking at Appa, Arjie feels he understands his father’s feelings. Appa skips dinner and drinks late into the night. (full context)
5. The Best School of All
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Just before the new school term, Appa declares that he is transferring Arjie to Diggy’s school, the Queen Victoria Academy, because it “will force [Arjie] to become a... (full context)
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The first day of school, Arjie dons his new uniform with long trousers, unlike the shorts he used to wear and... (full context)
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Arjie sits next to Soyza, who points out the nail someone has planted on his chair... (full context)
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...to the bathroom for about 15 minutes and returns with rumpled clothing. After another week, Arjie watches Salgado and his posse drag Cheliah—a Tamil student—into a bathroom stall, presumably to beat... (full context)
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After about two months, Arjie finally sees Black Tie, who visits class during “a rubber-band-and-paper-pellet fight.” Everyone pulls out their... (full context)
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...Soyza knows that there is nothing to be done and calls his condition “extremely funny.” Arjie, who waited alone for Soyza in class, suggests Soyza complain or tell his parents, but... (full context)
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...all” on the board and makes each boy recite it in turn. Afterwards, he makes Arjie do it again, and then read a poem to the class. The teacher walks out... (full context)
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...Tie nicknamed “the Angel of Death” (because he always delivers bad news) comes to bring Arjie to the principal’s office. Soyza is sitting outside; inside are Mr. Sunderalingam and Black Tie,... (full context)
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After school, Arjie tells Soyza about what happened in Black Tie’s office, and then Diggy tells Arjie not... (full context)
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Arjie starts studying the poems he is supposed to recite, but has difficulty understanding them, especially... (full context)
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The next afternoon, Arjie visits Black Tie for a practice run at reciting the poems. He runs into Soyza,... (full context)
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Arjie and Soyza walk back to the classroom to get their bags, but in a fury,... (full context)
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On their bicycle ride home, Soyza asks whether Arjie’s family calls him “Arjun” (no—they call him “Arjie”) and Arjie asks Soyza the same (they... (full context)
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The next day, Arjie and Shehan take up their same roles for Black Tie. Arjie “studies” Shehan’s body and... (full context)
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After another hour, Arjie and Shehan return inside again, but now Arjie has a plan. He asks Black Tie... (full context)
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Mr. Sunderalingam agrees to talk to Black Tie, and Arjie starts making his way upstairs. Thinking about Black Tie’s cruelty toward Shehan and himself, and... (full context)
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After school, Mr. Sunderalingam visits Black Tie, who then calls Shehan and Arjie inside and releases them. They run downstairs and, in their whirlwind of surprise and delight,... (full context)
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At home, no longer stunned by Shehan’s kiss, Arjie starts to savor it—he tries to remember it perfectly, then imagine what a slower and... (full context)
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Shehan is nervous when Arjie arrives at his poorly maintained house, which makes Arjie immediately realize that Shehan “[doesn’t] have... (full context)
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When he returns home, Arjie’s family is in the middle of dinner and ask where he has been. They are... (full context)
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Arjie realizes that he and Shehan are both different in the same way, and that there... (full context)
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Arjie is “excited but scared” about Shehan’s arrival on Sunday. After he arrives, Shehan is quiet,... (full context)
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They get dressed, and Shehan gives Arjie an uncomfortable kiss. They return outside and Arjie worries about stains and wrinkles on his... (full context)
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After lunch, in Arjie’s room, Shehan points out that Appa did not seem to like him. Arjie asks if... (full context)
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Arjie calls Shehan “revolting” and says he regrets initiating in the garage. Shehan accuses Arjie of... (full context)
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Arjie dreams of Shehan again the night after this entire episode. In the dream, he meets... (full context)
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Arjie mulls over his dream on his way to class the day after. When he arrives,... (full context)
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Arjie cannot stop thinking about Shehan for the rest of the day and worries that he... (full context)
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When Arjie arrives at Shehan’s house, the servant woman tells him that Shehan has not left his... (full context)
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On his way home, Arjie feels “a despair […] fueled by [his] inability to relieve Shehan of his pain.” He... (full context)
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Arjie wonders “how many boys like Shehan [have] passed through this school” and have become the... (full context)
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...has a plan to save himself: “I’m going to England to be with my mother.” Arjie wonders if this is practical, but Shehan promises that he can get the money for... (full context)
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During second period, Black Tie calls Arjie to his office, where Shehan is still kneeling on the balcony, and makes him recite... (full context)
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On his walk back to class, Arjie thinks about all of the ways he can use this power to save Shehan or... (full context)
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The next week, on the day of the ceremony, Arjie has not informed Shehan about his plans, but asks if Shehan will come. Shehan says... (full context)
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Arjie climbs to the stage and stares at the microphone, then at “the expectant faces” in... (full context)
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Black Tie begins his speech and accuses Arjie of “defil[ing] a thing of beauty, wreak[ing] havoc on fine sentiments,” by messing up the... (full context)
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While the prizes are being given out during the last part of the ceremony, Arjie runs upstairs to see Shehan, whom he brings into an empty classroom. Shehan is confused;... (full context)
6. Riot Journal: An Epilogue
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The final section of Funny Boy consists of a number of Arjie’s journal entries from July and August of 1983. The first entry begins on July 25... (full context)
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At 9:30 AM on the same day, Arjie writes that Sena Uncle and Chithra Aunty visited the site of the riots and confirmed... (full context)
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At 11 AM, Arjie learns what the adults were talking about in secret: he overheard the adults in the... (full context)
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At 12:30 PM, still on July 25, Arjie writes that he is “frightened” because the family’s phones are not working and Sena Uncle... (full context)
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At 1 PM, Arjie writes that “the government has now declared curfew,” which is a relief “because this means... (full context)
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At 3 PM, Arjie explains that the riots have actually worsened since the curfew, and describes what happened to... (full context)
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At 6:45 PM, still on July 25, Arjie writes that Amma and Appa told the children how to escape the house in case... (full context)
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At 11:30 PM, Arjie writes that he cannot stand waiting for the mob to show up, and almost wants... (full context)
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At 12:30 PM on July 26, Arjie writes that “it seems unbelievable” that so much has passed since his last journal entry... (full context)
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The same journal entry continues. The mob has stopped yelling, but Arjie and his family hear their front door shatter and their house get ransacked. And then... (full context)
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...much smaller. They go inside and look at their old possessions, now completely destroyed, but Arjie feels “not a trace of remorse, not a touch of sorrow for the loss and... (full context)
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...has dropped a bomb on it.” Ammachi and Appachi go to stay with Kanthi Aunty. Arjie remembers passing spend-the-days there in his childhood and cries. (full context)
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At 6 PM the same day, Arjie writes that “something awful has happened.” Someone anonymously called Sena Uncle and said they knew... (full context)
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At 11 PM, Arjie explains that they had another “scare” two hours before. After dinner, a group of men... (full context)
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On the next day, July 27, at 6 PM, Arjie writes that the brief break in the curfew—for the purpose of buying groceries—was useless, because... (full context)
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...says that they should “watch the situation for a little longer and then decide.” But Arjie hears him later quietly telling Amma to apply for the children’s passports. (full context)
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The next evening, on July 28, at 8 PM, Arjie writes that the family has learned that Appa’s hotel was attacked and almost burned down,... (full context)
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On July 29, at 10 AM, Arjie writes that the visitors continue—this time, it is Ammachi and Appachi, who are just talking... (full context)
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At 1 PM on the same day, Arjie writes that the rioters have returned, yelling that the Tamil Tigers are now in Colombo—a... (full context)
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Four days later, on August 2nd, Arjie writes that “so many things have happened.” Sena Uncle came back shortly after the previous... (full context)
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In the same entry, Arjie’s narration jumps to the day before, three days after Ammachi and Appachi were killed, and... (full context)
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Almost a month later, on August 25, Arjie writes that he has gotten his passport and now “finally realize[s] that we are really... (full context)
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On August 27, Arjie writes that he has visited Shehan for the last time and “can still smell his... (full context)
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On his ride home from Shehan’s house to Sena Uncle’s, Arjie realized that he had forgotten something, and went to visit the remnants of his family’s... (full context)