Gender exploration in Funny Boy
Funny Boy is a story of a seven year old innocent Sri Lankan boy. The story is narrated through the eyes of Arjie who is naively experimenting with is gender. The writer portrays Arjie to be little odd and different from the other boys of his age. While other Sri Lankan boys his age like to play cricket, he likes to put on a sari and play bride-bride with his sister and female cousins. In this essay will analyze the importance of Janaki’s room in Arjie’s identity and his quest to search for his true gender. For Arjie, Janaki’s room was a place of transformation which let him explores his freedom; ascend into a different fantasy world, a world which is beautiful, more brilliant. It is this room which transforms him into who he truly wants to be and to emulate his Amma who was his inspiration through different fantasy games, such as bride-bride. It is apparent throughout the story that Arjie is innocently exploring his gender and identity and has found strong inclination of comfort towards female gender which author makes reference to subtly as is stated in the text, “it was to this territory of the girls confined to the back garden and the kitchen porch that I seem to have gravitated naturally….” (Selvadurai 3) Janaki’s room provided him with the opportunity to be with the girls and feel like one of them. He felt in his element playing games of fantasy like Cinderella and Thumbelina and most importantly bride-bride, his favourite, for which the much anticipated and intriguing preparations took place in Janaki’s room. His young, curious and imaginative mind wants to explore what is unknown to him and want to push the boundary by experimenting with fantasies, e.g. “For me the primary attraction of the girls’ territory was the potential for free play of fantasy” (Selvadurai 3). This enactment of fantasies also led him to a different world in which he could see himself transform into a figure that that was very beautiful and graceful....
Cited: Selvadurai, Shyam, “Pigs Can’t Fly.” Funny Boy. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, Inc.,
1994. 1-40. Print.
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