"[T]he Free Play of Fantasy" The Interrelations between Ethnicity and Sexuality in Shyam Selvadurai´s Funny Boy

by Svensson, Åsa

Abstract (Summary)
The goal of this essay is to pursue a reading of ethnicity and sexuality in Shyam Selvadurai’s novel Funny Boy to show the importance of the interrelations between the two and how equally crucial both of these are in order to understand the protagonist Arjie’s journey and search for identity. To investigate the interrelation between ethnicity and sexuality, the analysis makes use of a method of simultaneous consideration that is similar to Mae Gwendolyn Henderson’s focus on “simultaneity of discourse” used by black women writers.The turning points in the protagonist’s life and search for an identity are crucial and influenced by issues of separation, and the theme of exile is prominent in the novel. Selvadurai uses the theme in several aspects on a number of levels, concerning both ethnicity and sexuality. However, the narrative also allows the protagonist to find an alternative route in exploring his identity as a “funny one”.These turning points are illustrated by a moving beyond the traditional gender roles and the idea of masculinity in areas of gendered and racialised spaces. Selvadurai shows a people that are ethnically and/or sexually divided while at the same time being linked through words and languages that can give and/or take away possibilities.Hence, a second aim of this essay is to show that the protagonist overcomes the limitations that society has set by choosing the path that is right for him, a path that allows him to be “funny”.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Växjö universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:ethnicity exile funny boy identity masculinity selvadurai sexuality simultaneity of discourse and racialised space


Date of Publication:06/18/2008

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