These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community.
We are thankful of their contributions and encourage you to make your own.
Written by Rashmi Chhawal, vipasha sharma and other people who wish to remain anonymous
Arjie is the protagonist and also the narrator in the novel. A seven year old boy, Arjie loves to play the game “bride-bride” with the rest of the girls and sees nothing wrong in wearing a saree, meant for women, and play the role of the bride. While innocent, Arjie understands that what he does, wearing a feminine attire and playing with girls instead of boys, is frowned upon after the adults catch him wearing the saree and playing with “bride-bride”. Though he doesn’t understand what is wrong with what he does, he’s clever enough to figure out that the others view his behaviour as strange and it upsets him.
It is through Arjie’s point of view that the whole story is told and thus, how Arjie feels about the events that take place in coming chapters is also reflected in the narration. The readers know when Arjie starts to acknowledge his own sexuality for the first time and understands what the repercussions are when he has his first sexual encounter with his friend Shehan in Arjie’s parents’s garage. Initially, it disgusts him and makes him feel ashamed though he quickly comes to term with his sexuality but also recognizes what it means for his relationship with his family and with the rest of the world.
Sonali is Arjie’s younger sister. She is the only one in Arjie’s family who supports him to play Bride-Bride. Arjie sometimes confides in Sonali because Sonali understands him better than any other member of the family.
Varuna is Arjie’s elder brother. He always mocks Arjie when he plays girls games. He is named as Diggy-nose because of his prevailing habit of poking nose into others affairs. Diggy alike his father is not supportive of Arjie attraction towards the feminine identity and tells him to stay away from Shehan since he is aware of the sexual identity of Shehan . Diggy manages his responsibities of being a big protective brother at the first day of Arjie at The Victoria Academy School.
In English, Amma is called as mother, she scolds Arjie when she came to know that he is a homosexual boy and forces him to play cricket with other boys. Arjie has a special relationship with his mother unlike the one with his father.
Appa is Arjie’s father. He was little bit worried and upset about Arjie’s sexuality as Cyril uncle said “looks like you have a funny one here”. He presents the view point of the masses who will consider his son "funny" due to his sexual identity. He even reprimands Arjie's mother for letting him watch her dress up and even gets Arjie admitted to an all boys school to awaken his masculinity.
Tanuja is the Arjie cousin sister, she is nick named as “Her Fatness”. She refuses Arjie to play the role of bride in the game of Bride-Bride as he is a boy but a bride should be a girl.
Mother of Tanuja and sister of Arjie’s Father.
Father of Tanuja and husband of Kanthi Aunty.
Arjie’s Grandparents: his grandmother loves her grandchildren and welcome by giving them a kiss on their cheeks. Arjie’s Grandfather loves his grandchildren too but says “Ah, hello, hello” in welcome.
Radha Aunty is the youngest sister of his father, she is the only open minded aunty of Arjie. That’s why Arjie loves her the most. Radha Aunty returns from America in Chapter 2. Radha Aunty falls in love with Anil who is a from the Sinhalese community and is very stern on marrying him due to which Ammachi is forced to send her to Jaffna to stay with her relatives for sometime. During her journey back from Jaffna to Colombo , her train is attacked by Sinhala fanatic due to which she breaks up with Anil and marries Rajan Nagendra whom she met in America, they worked together.
Anil loves Radha Aunty, they met each other in the play “The King and I”, but they got separated due to Tamil-Sinhalese riots in Sri Lanka.
Radha Aunty met Rajan Nagendra in America, they worked together. Radha Aunty marries him due to socio cultural backdrop of Tamil Sinhala conflict in Sri Lanka.
Daryl is the first love of Arjie’s mother but they did not marry each other because of ethnic riots between Tamil-Sinhalese. Daryl came back to her life when he returns to Sri Lanka to cover a report on Tamil-Sinhalese riots, but he was killed in riot. Daryl uncle even gets Arjie a copy of 'Little women' with which Arjie seems utterly elated.
Jegan is the son of Arjie’s father’s school friend. He came there to find a job, previously he was a member of Tamil Tigers organization but now his father give him a job in his hotel. Arjie has been admiring Jegan's physique ever since his arrival. Arjie realises a little about his sexuality because of feeling attracted to Jegan at the age of 13.
Shehan is also a homosexual boy like Arjie. Shehan lacks the awkwardness of most boys of his age and his body is delicately built,also he has long hair which he keeps clipped to avoid the punishments which may follow after this revelation. Shehan and Arjie love each other. One day Shehan kisses Arjie then Arjie became aware of his homosexuality. And later they have their first sexual encounter in his father’s garage. Shehan and Arjie are even emotionally connected as they share a different bond as Arjie,even deliberately messes up his poem to avenge Shehan.
He is the principal of Victoria Academy, nick-named as "Black-Tie" because he is very strict toward students of his school. He is a strong believer of the practice of physical punishments and assumes it as a way to convert young boys into men who can tolerate pain and conform to the conventions of being a male. He beats Arjie and Shehan because Shehan fails to help Arjie in memorizing the poems.
This section is currently locked
Someone from the community is currently working feverishly to complete this section of the study guide. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be long.
Funny Boy Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Funny Boy is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.