Books and Movies Reviews

Differing Cultural Beliefs in Funny Boy

Differing Cultural Beliefs in Funny Boy
Between four to ten percent of the general population is homosexual.However, openly admitting to this preference is very uncommon. It is difficult for society to come to terms with the idea of homosexuality because it is different.Being different is looked upon as shameful, especially when it relates to one's sexual preference. One of the biggest reasons for keeping this subject a secret is because most people feel that their families will reject them. Today, we are living in a world that is supposed to favour diversity, yet all that we seem to be doing is mocking the way others choose to live their lives. Shyam Selvadurai, the author of Funny Boy, felt the necessity to write about this issue because it is kept in the dark, especially in Sri Lanka.In addition, Sri Lanka is faced with many cultural problems.The Tamils and Singhalese are in constant conflict because of their different moral values. Selvadurai grew up in this type of atmosphere, he was homosexual and was raised in an environment where fighting took place regularly.Selvadurai decided to write this book not only as therapy for himself but also to lend a voice to those who still have trouble expressing themselves about both of these issues – especially children. "Selvadurai writes as sensitively about the emotional intensity of adolescence as he does about the wonder of childhood" (Hower, 22). Arjie Chelvaratnam, the protagonist in Selvadurai's novel, finds himself going through similar problems.He feels lost because his attitudes towards life differ greatly from those around him.In his novel, Funny Boy, Shyam Selvadurai uses character and plot to show how conflicting cultural beliefs can lead to confusion and alienation.
The theme of clashing cultural values is brought out through the character of Arjie's father, Appa. As Arjie was growing up, he often enjoyed spending his days playin…


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