Funny Boy

A city in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, which is primarily Tamil. This is where much of the violence recounted in Funny Boy starts, including the 1981 riots that kill Daryl Uncle and send Jegan Parameswaran (who is from Jaffna) fleeing south to Colombo.

Jaffna Quotes in Funny Boy

The Funny Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Jaffna or refer to Jaffna. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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.
2. Radha Aunty Quotes

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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Sometimes I wonder if it was all worth it in the end. To have made all those sacrifices. Life is a funny thing, you know. It goes on, whatever decisions you make. Ultimately you have children or don’t have children and then you grow old. Whether you married the person you loved or not seems to become less important as time passes. Sometimes I think that if I had gone to England with them maybe I would have met somebody else….” She clicked her tongue against her teeth and laughed. “Anyway, there’s no point in thinking about that—no?”

Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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:
Quotes explanation short mobile

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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Jaffna Term Timeline in Funny Boy

The timeline below shows where the term Jaffna appears in Funny Boy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. Radha Aunty
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...then Ammachi reveals her plan: she will send Radha to stay with her cousin in Jaffna until she “come[s] to [her] senses.” Radha Aunty gets up and leaves, and Mala Aunty... (full context)
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...that Radha will stay in the play—but Appachi will drive her—after she comes back from Jaffna. After the next rehearsal, Doris explains her reasoning to Radha: she wants her to “get... (full context)
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
...and Radha Aunty tells Janaki that she and Anil will marry after she returns from Jaffna. (full context)
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
After Radha Aunty leaves for Jaffna, Arjie has to go to the play rehearsals alone, but feels “lost and alone” and... (full context)
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
One day before Radha Aunty is set to return from Jaffna, the family hears of violent unrest there. Ammachi arranges a police escort to take Radha... (full context)
3. See No Evil, Hear No Evil
Masculinity and Queerness Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...talking about politics—there is an ethnic war between the Sinhalese and the Tamil Tigers in Jaffna, and Daryl, who is a journalist, has come to investigate claims of torture and government... (full context)
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...Colombo, Daryl and Amma get into a huge argument because of his plans to visit Jaffna, where he feels obligated to go to cover the war, even though he loves her.... (full context)
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...Chithra Aunty again, and Daryl does not return. They hear news of violent riots in Jaffna, and Arjie wonders if Daryl might still be there. Amma insists that he “can’t be”... (full context)
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...she wants to check on Daryl Uncle, since the police have just burned down the Jaffna library. At Daryl’s house, the servant boy Somaratne says Daryl has not returned, nor has... (full context)
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...to assure Amma that they would check on Daryl Uncle’s house and call her to Jaffna. (full context)
4. Small Choices
Forbidden Love and Family Theme Icon
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
A deceased friend’s widow writes to Appa from Jaffna, asking his help employing their son Jegan, who had been working with the Gandhiyam movement.... (full context)
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...walk on the beach, which he says reminds him of going with his schoolmates in Jaffna. Arjie mentions that he knows about the torture in Jaffna, and Jegan says he knows... (full context)
Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Violence Theme Icon
Justice, Power, and Moral Awakening Theme Icon
...they have their drink in the yard, Appa suggests that Jegan take a vacation to Jaffna, but Jegan says that “the best thing for me is hard work.” Appa shows him... (full context)