Funny Boy

Arjie’s boisterous, athletic older brother, whose conventional masculinity contrasts with Arjie’s effeminacy. The family encourages Arjie to follow in Diggy’s shoes, for instance by playing cricket with the boys during the family’s “spend-the-days” and by going to the Queen Victoria Academy. Diggy grows jealous of Arjie’s close friendship with Jegan and encourages him to stay away from Shehan at school.

Diggy Quotes in Funny Boy

The Funny Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Diggy or refer to Diggy. 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.
4. Small Choices Quotes

"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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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:
Quotes explanation short mobile

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:
Quotes explanation short mobile

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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Diggy Character Timeline in Funny Boy

The timeline below shows where the character Diggy 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
...narrator, Arjie, recalls his family cherishing their monthly Sunday “spend-the-day.” After waking Arjie, his brother Varuna, and his sister Sonali, Amma brings the three children to their grandparents’ house. The children... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
...house—this group includes Meena, a girl cousin who leads one faction of the boys, and Varuna, nicknamed “Diggy” for his nose-picking, who leads the other. “The girls” get the area behind... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...tell that Amma does not want him to bring his sari. After breakfast, Amma orders Diggy to make Arjie play cricket. Both the boys are distraught, but she does not budge,... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
During the car ride, Diggy’s discomfort signals that he will definitely (if reluctantly) force Arjie to play cricket. After they... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
Diggy had struck a “fragile balance” between obeying Amma and keeping his cricket team—but Arjie quickly... (full context)
2. Radha Aunty
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
...gives him a ride to Ammachi and Appachi’s house, where the whole family is gathered. Diggy reports that “Radha Aunty’s train was attacked” by Sinhalese people and that she was “hurt... (full context)
3. See No Evil, Hear No Evil
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...that he does not know about her life before she had kids. Amma later introduces Diggy and Sonali to Daryl Uncle—they are also confused at first—and Arjie’s fever worsens that night.... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
...at Amma, Sonali is now “secretive, as if she had done something very bad,” and Diggy is cold and mechanical, fond of shooting a tin can with his air gun. Soon,... (full context)
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...Daryl leaves early, and Arjie and Amma head back to Colombo, where they meet Sonali, Diggy, and Neliya Aunty—although Arjie feels “a terrible sense of distance.” At home, Amma finds and... (full context)
4. Small Choices
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
...to be “in constant contact with him.” Jegan moves in a few days later, and Diggy is excited to meet him. Arjie feels that “the place seemed to have become sacred... (full context)
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
One day, Arjie, Sonali, and Diggy see someone sticking a poster of a lamp on their wall—in the upcoming “referendum” (held... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
...and Jegan grow closer; after they return to Colombo, they start going jogging every evening. (Diggy is jealous, which Arjie savors.) One day, Jegan mysteriously talks with two strange men on... (full context)
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Before dinner, Arjie, Diggy, and Sonali worry about whether they will be attacked. They eat solemnly and, afterward, see... (full context)
5. The Best School of All
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
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 man.” Diggy... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...the shorts he used to wear and wishes he could return to. When he and Diggy arrive, he marvels at the school’s ominous colonial building—Black Tie stands on the balcony, wearing... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
After school, Arjie tells Soyza about what happened in Black Tie’s office, and then Diggy tells Arjie not to associate with Soyza, who is known for leaving class during free... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
...part ways. On his way home, Arjie thinks about Shehan—his name, their playful relationship, and Diggy’s rumor about the head prefect. That night, he dreams about wrestling in the pool with... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...friend ever. Amma says the family should have Shehan over for lunch that weekend, and Diggy shakes his head at Arjie, who defiantly agrees to his mother’s proposal. Later, Diggy approaches... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
...imagined his father walking in on him and Shehan in the garage, and then sees Diggy’s vicious smile, which reminds him of the story about Shehan and the head prefect and... (full context)
6. Riot Journal: An Epilogue
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...one, climbed the ladder up the wall and jumped into the Pereras’ yard. Appa and Diggy hid the ladder, and then the family hid in the Pereras’ storeroom, which has a... (full context)
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...than anything else to hold” but could not because of his family’s presence; Amma tells Diggy not to follow them out into the garden, where Shehan tells Arjie he visited the... (full context)
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
...to Canada in two days. He remembers fantasizing about foreign lands as a child with Diggy and Sonali, but recognizes “that great difficulties lie ahead.” Appa is staying in Sri Lanka... (full context)