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As much as Funny Boy represents a painful transition to sexual and adulthood, it also paints a stark portrait of the distinctions society makes between what is considered normal and abnormal behaviour. The story depicts a great deal of the inner workings of the main protagonist, Arjun Chelvaratnam, and is set against the communal riots in 1983. The idea of the socially recognised identity of "self" and the frequently hurtful term "other" will be the main emphasis of this essay. The tension between these two polarities as it relates to the narrator's life and the Sinhalese-Tamil fight will also be a major subject of this essay.