Funny Boy

Tanuja / Her Fatness Character Analysis

Tanuja, Kanthi Aunty and Cyril Uncle’s young daughter, gets nicknamed “Her Fatness” by the rest of her cousins. Self-serving, spoiled, and unpopular, she manipulates the family into letting her play the prestigious role of bride at the girls’ monthly “bride-bride” game. After trying to impress the other girls with her dolls and gregarious behavior as the groom, she insults Arjie for being a “pansy,” “faggot,” and “sissy” before complaining to her mother Kanthi, who marches Arjie out in front of all the aunties and uncles to answer for his effeminacy. When Her Fatness and Arjie fight again over the sari and the role of bride, she cries out in front of Ammachi, who blames and punishes Arjie.

Tanuja / Her Fatness Quotes in Funny Boy

The Funny Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Tanuja / Her Fatness or refer to Tanuja / Her Fatness. 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

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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Tanuja / Her Fatness Character Timeline in Funny Boy

The timeline below shows where the character Tanuja / Her Fatness 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
...arrival of Kanthi Aunty, Cyril Uncle, and Tanuja, their daughter, whom the kids call “ Her Fatness ” and who readily takes on the least prestigious role in the game “bride-bride”: the... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...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 favor in the group. But the... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
Amma tells Arjie to be in the car in five minutes, and he worries that Her Fatness will become the girls’ new leader, and that the group will not even be able... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
Arjie makes his way to the girls’ territory, where he realizes that Her Fatness has usurped his role, and is making the wedding cake he designed. The rest of... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...calls Sonali up to deliver an imaginary letter, then another cousin, Lakshmi, to take dictation. Her Fatness interrupts, insists on seeing the sari, and threatens to tell Janaki that Arjie is playing... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
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 to find it—Her Fatness... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...is standing in the doorway; she chastises Janaki for failing to “keep these children quiet.” Her Fatness starts crying, Ammachi sees her torn dress sleeve, and she names Arjie as the culprit.... (full context)
2. Radha Aunty
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...bride ever.” They whimsically plan the wedding—Arjie agrees to be a pageboy and hopes that Her Fatness will not get to be a flower girl, then recommends outfits for the whole bridal... (full context)
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Later that afternoon, Her Fatness talks loudly about her bride-bride plans, wearing a bedsheet instead of a sari. Arjie imagines... (full context)