American writer Alison Bechdel has been known as one of the most famous writers. She is the author of world famous comic Fun Home, written in 2006. Fun Home is often referred to as Family Tragicomic. The presence of phase transitions and queerness in the comic has made it very famous among the comic with readers.
The comic has highlighted childhood and youth of the author in Pennsylvania, USA. The comic highlights the ups and downs in the life of the author surrounding around complexities in the relationship of the author with her father. Some of the main themes that have been mentioned in the book include sexual orientation, the roles of different genders, suicide, dysfunctional family and most importantly the roles that are played by the literature in understanding one's own self, life and family. More than seven years were taken by the author to compose Fun Home as much time was needed by the author to process the book in accordance to her artistic needs. She used to picture and photograph herself in each and every human figure.
One of the main facts that need to be mentioned here is that both successful and critical success has been achieved by Fun Home. The book has remained on the list of New York Time's Best Seller. Various critics have mentioned the book as being an important addition. Sean Wilsey mentioned in the New York Sunday Times Book Review that the book can be called a pioneer as the book has merged two important areas of literature as comic and memoir. Several publications have mentioned the book as one of the best books of 2006. The book has been defined as one of the best books of the 21st century. Many awards have been won by the book as National Book Critics Circle Award as well as Eisner Award.
Plot and themes of Fun Home
The comic is of a more nonlinear and a recursive nature. Newer themes are used for moving from one story to another in the comic book. The structure of the movie has been described as a labyrinth. The book starts from the outside and moves into the inside with newer and better situations. There are many scenes in which themes and scenes are recreated by the author in which there is an increased force of attachment that brings out the energy and memoir. Secondly, the main structure of memoir is based on allusions. These allusions have been gathered from various pieces of literature that include Greek myth as well as virtual arts. Family life and the adulthood of the author have been presented with the help of an allusive lens (Alison 56).
The main theme of the comic book revolves around the childhood and adulthood of Bechdel's family. The complex relationship between the author and her father is the main theme of the comic. Bruce Bechdel, father of Alison has been shown to work as a funeral director as well as a high school teacher. Beech Creek is the place where most of the childhood of Alison and his siblings has passed. Funeral home is a family business in which Alison and her siblings grew up. The title of the book comes from the nickname that has been given by the family nickname given to the funeral home. The name of the book is ironic as it also refers more ironically to the tyrannical rule of her father. From here, it can be seen that the father of Alison has two main occupations and these are perfectly reflected in the book's main focus on death as well as literature.
The beginning of the book is based on the obsession of Alison's father for restoration of the family's Victorian home. This is the obsession that distances him from his family. This distancing is expressed by the father of the author with cold behavior and abusive bouts. This emotional distance has also been highlighted as the main reason of Alison's father becoming a homosexual. The element of sexuality has been highlighted by the author by adding that the author had homosexual relationships with many of his male students, babysitters, and friends. Bruce Bechdel committed suicide at the age of 44 by stepping into the path of a truck, two weeks after the divorce was filed by his wife (Alison 89).
Focus on Gender
The book has greatly focused on the element of genders and sexuality. Bruce Bechdel becoming a homosexual is one of the main highlights of sexuality and gender in the book. Secondly, Alison Bechdel has mentioned that she had to struggle a lot as well in order to find her own sexual identity. With her struggle, she finally realizes that she is a lesbian, which she finally reveals to her husband as well. One of the main facts that need to be mentioned about the memoir is that there are no sexual limitations in the comic. Sexual development of Alison Bechdel has been highlighted in an open manner in the comic. The comic has also included some of the memoirs of Alison Bechdel from her childhood diary that include tales of her first experience with her girlfriend. One of the main common factors between the father and daughter include homosexuality based on which both individuals have been shown to have obsessive-compulsive issues as well as artistic tendencies. The nature of the opposition in the two characters is an important factor of tension in the relationship between father and daughter. A partial resolution of the conflicts between the daughter and her father comes when some history of sexuality becomes a part of their conversation. There are a number of sections in the book where the author has mentioned, if her lesbian orientation was one of the main reasons of him committing suicide. This is where it can be thought that Bruce Bechdel understands that his obsession and distance from the family could be one of the main reasons of driving her own daughter to homosexuality. Other than the main fact of sexual orientation, gender identity is the second important theme of the book. The author has mentioned at various places in the comic that she used to see her father as a sissy man. This is based on the fact that Bruce Bechdel always tried to change her daughter into a more feminine individual.
Another important part where gender has been given more focus in the book is where Alison has highlighted her perceptions in relation to the masculinity of her father. Alison has compared her father with the virile men in the town and it was this comparison that makes Alison thinks that her father was sissy. From here, Alison realized that part where his father lacked greatly in masculinity; she was the one who could compensate (Alison 89). This there is a great involvement of differences between the two. One of the main scenes in which this difference becomes even clearer is when her father insists that Alison wears a barrette in the hair and pearls. There is a great polarity between the two characters based on the differences that exist. But this polarity is the main reason of a strong connection between the two. As Alison discovers her sexual identity and embraces, it is opposite to the way in which her father continues concerning his sexual identity. This is the oppositional relationship which has been shown in the book in a more metaphorical manner in the form of a dream. The dream has shown that Alison asks her father to join her for sunset where he fails (Alison 90).
Focus on Queerness
Disability and queerness are the second important facts that are mentioned in the comics. Disability has been mentioned in the form of obsessive-compulsive disorder being suffered by both the daughter and father. Queerness has been highlighted in the form of both daughter and father being homosexual. In the case of these two facts, there are some facts that need to be taken into account. How has the author managed to highlight both queerness and disabilities with the help of text or graphic novel? The novel has shown that with the help of obsessive compulsiveness, there is a way with the help of which Alison can control her anxiety. This is the same when Bruce Bechdel controls his sexuality. The question arises if the images in the comics can accurately show the need of containment of the two main characters. In this case, one main fact that needs to be highlighted is that there are maps given throughout the book. The author has shown that these maps provide Alison and her father with a certain sense of security as they have the power to control.
There is an increased repetition in the book. What does the repetition represent? These are the repetitions that show certain repeating behaviors of Bruce Bechdel. These behaviors include repeating those behaviors, which have a more positive effect. Some…