society’s beliefs and standards versus the desires of an individual

Topics: Funny Boy, Shyam Selvadurai, Aunt Pages: 4 (1692 words) Published: October 31, 2013

Funny Boy is a novel written by Shyam Selvadurai that has many themes such as gender/sexuality, identity, marriage, beliefs and more. One of the main themes that was very evident throughout the novel was society’s beliefs and standards versus the desires of an individual. For example, in the novel, the protagonist Arjie is caught between the way he looks and responds to life and the way society looks and responds to life. At many times during the book, Arjie feels hopeless because his orientation of life disagrees from society. The beliefs of society had often led to hopelessness and certainty not only for Arjie but also for other characters. This theme is thoroughly analyzed through many parts of the novel such as when Arjie’s family finds him to be “funny” and sends him to an “all boy’s school”, when Radha Aunty wants to marry a Sinhalese man and the relationship between Arjie and Shehan. The theme of society’s standards versus an individual’s desires is first presented at the beginning of the novel. In his childhood, Arjie spend most of his time playing dress up with his girl cousins because he felt that playing cricket with the boys was lame and unimaginative. One day, his aunt and uncle caught him in a sari, which is meant to be a dress for women. Arjie’s uncle then called Arjie “funny”. By “funny”, Arjie’s uncle meant gay. After this, Arjie’s father and mother argued about the scene that they had just witnessed. “If he turns out funny like that Rankotwera boy, if he turns out to be the laughing-stock of Colombo, it’ll be your fault,” my father said in a tone of finality. “You always spoil him and encourage all his nonsense,” (Selvadurai 14). Society’s belief is that the boys should play cricket with the boys and the girls should play girly games with the girls. Society also believed that boys shouldn’t be “funny”. Arjie’s family believed and went along with society’s standards. If the community found out that Arjie was “funny”, the family could have been...
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