Arjie’s Journey in Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy Essay example

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Arjie’s Journey in Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy

Growing up during a time of violent political upheaval in Sri Lanka, Arjie travels an especially bittersweet journey into maturation in Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy. The adults in Arjie’s extended family mostly belong to an older, more conservative generation that attempts to fit Arjie into society’s norms. The adults that Arjie meets in the community through his family are individuals who prompt him to see past the confines of his childhood, and it is Arjie’s peers who give him the extra push to understanding himself. With guidance from his extended family, his adult friends, and his peers, Arjie is able to discover his identity through understanding the impact of race
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She believes that as long as she upholds traditions, she is a good mother.

Like Ammachi, Amma is at times uncertain of herself when she tries to help Arjie in his maturation journey. Before Arjie is caught wearing a sari, Amma used to let him play with her jewellery and watch her put on her sari. However, after Arjie’s humiliation, Amma orders Diggy to let Arjie play with the boys during spend-the-day – and forbids Arjie from playing bride-bride with his girl cousins. When Arjie questions this, Amma says simply, “You’re a big boy now. And big boys must play with other boys” (20). This does not appear to satisfy Arjie because he is still unmarred by society’s expectations. Not knowing how to deal with the problem of gender issues, Amma allows that “life is full of stupid things and sometimes we just have to do them” (20). Amma is equally uncomfortable with explaining racism to Arjie. When Arjie is disappointed that the English governess does not marry the King in The King and I, Amma tells Arjie that people do not marry outside their own race (54). It is only later that Arjie learns of his mother’s more accepting side. After Radha Aunty’s ordeal in the attacked train, Amma is the only one who calls Anil a “poor man” (87). As her best friends and neighbours are Sinhalese, Amma welcomes people of different “races”. In fact, in her youth, she had fallen in love with Daryl Uncle, a Burgher. When Daryl Uncle

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