Character Analysis

Arjun Chelvaratnam “Arjie”

Arjie is the main character and the narrator of the novel. The book follows Arjie’s journey of acknowledging his sexuality as a Tamil boy growing up in Sri Lanka. The book starts out with Arjie being seven years old and ends with him being fourteen. The whole book is told through Arjie’s eyes, which helps make it more clear to the reader how Arjie feels about events that take place. The title “Funny Boy” refers to Arjie’s family’s perspective on his sexuality.


Sonali is Arjie’s younger sister. She is one of the few people who support Arjie because she relates to him more than anyone else in their family.

Varuna “Diggy”

Varuna is Arjie’s older brother, also known as “Diggy”. He received the nickname Diggy because he is always digging his nose in everyone’s business. Like their father, he does not support Arjie’s appeal to femininity. He embodies the stereotype of what guys “should be like”.

Nalini Chelvaratnam “Amma”

Amma is Arjie’s mother. She does not approve of Arjie’s sexuality, but they still have a special bond.

Tanuja “Her Fatness”

Tanuja is Arjie’s cousin. Her nickname is “Her Fatness”. She dressed up as the groom during bride-bride until she got jealous of Arjie’s role and embarrassed him so that she could be the bride.

Kanthi Aunty

Tanuja’s mom and Arjie’s Aunt, and one of Appa’s sisters.

Cyril Uncle

Tanuja’s dad and Arjie’s uncle.


Appa is Arjie’s father. He is the one who refers to Arjie as “funny” because of his sexual preference. He also enrolls Arjie to an all boys school in hopes of bringing out Arjie’s manliness. His father epitomizes the stereotype of a “masculine man”.

Ammachi, Appachi

Arjie’s grandparents. They are upper-middle class and love their grandchildren.

Radha Aunty

Radha Aunty is Arjie’s aunt, the youngest sister of his father. She has a special relationship with Arjie. She falls in love with a Sinhalese man (Anil) but her mother forbids it because of the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict. She ends up settling for Rajan because of his sociocultural background.

Anil Jayasinghe

Radha’s forbidden love due to Tamil-Sinhalese conflict. Anil and Radha Aunty met each other in the play “The King and I”.

Rajan Nagendra

The man Radha Aunty married for his sociocultural background. He met Radha Aunty in America because they worked together. 

Daryl Uncle

Daryl is Amma’s first love, but they could not get married because of the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict. He eventually returned to Sri Lanka to cover reports on the riots, but ends up being killed.

Jegan Parameswaran

Jegan is the son of a friend of Appa’s school friend who comes to work for him at the hotel.

Shehan Soyza

Shehan is Arjie’s love interest who is comfortable with his sexuality and helps Arjie become fully aware of his sexuality.

Black Tie

Black Tie is the principal of the Victoria Academy. His nickname is “Black Tie” because he is extremely strict towards his students, punishing kids by physically beating them. He looks at physical abuse as a way to help boys tolerate pain. He often hurts Shehan and Arjie. 

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Sandra Gallagher 2018

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