Alison Bechdel Essay Example for Free


Fun Home is a highly artistic and rich in graphic expressions by Alison Bechdel. It is all about the writers childhood in the US at the city of Pennsylvania. It is all about a complicated relationship between the author and and the father. In the book, various themes are addressed. Alison describes them as, “sexual orientation, gender roles, suicide dysfunctional family life and the role of literature in understanding an individual and the family.”

Themes, Styles and Characters

Unlike other works by various authors, Fun Home is very different in bringing out various themes that Alison wants to bring out. She makes us not only to read them but see, hear and experience.

If the book is read in hurry, one may think that sexual orientation (homosexuality) is the only theme covered all through the story. However on a closer view other themes as stated above come out very distinctively. Alison wants to face reality. She is just like a small kid. Like in normal circumstances, a small kid just steals and confesses later if it was cake how sweat it tasted. Alison comes out openly to accept the fact that she is a lesbian in high school. She also finds out that her father is a gay!

The title of the book, Fun Home; is brought out very clearly in the book. ‘Fun Home’ a home where a father and a daughter are homosexuals. Again, “Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the ‘Fun Home.’” (Alison 99). The title comes from the nickname of the funeral home.

Another theme of illusion is addressed. The story in the book seems to be much more of real life. The story seems like one that keeps running in her mind every other time. Emmert and Lynn describes it as haunting one, and the tenuous bond between herself and her father resonates throughout the entire story. Alison and her father have that relationship of heartbreaking. The whole story runs around Alison and her father and clearly it is open that these are the major characters. Nancy K. Miller explains that as Bechdel revisits scenes and themes “she re-creates memories in which the force of attachment generates the structure of the memoir itself.”

Alison uses many styles to write her work. Allusion is the indirect reference to a layman. This is broadly used by Alison throughout the book. She says, “I employ these allusions … not only as descriptive devices, but because my parents are most real to me in fictional terms. And perhaps my cool aesthetic distance itself does more to convey the Arctic climate of our family than any particular literary comparison.” (P. 34).

“Homosexuality of Bruce Bechdel is observed as allusion.” (Wilde p.41). The two major characters are discussed with reference to Shepard’s illustrations. The two exchange their sexual fantasies by exchanging  memoirs. Visual allusion are also used shallowly. These are with refernce to television programmes and pop culture items. The movies like it is a wonderful life and Sesame Street are referred.

Alison acknowledged that she used images because she found it very easy. Of course it is true for picture capture much interest from the reader or the audience.

“It’s very important for me that people be able to read the images in the same kind of gradually unfolding way as they’re reading the text. I don’t like pictures that don’t have information in them. I want pictures that you have to read, that you have to decode, that take time, that you can get lost in. Otherwise what’s the point?”

It is in no doubt that Alison takes up everyone’s interest and covers the modern audience for the themes addressed are current issues that have hit the hot debates.

“Writing in the Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, Bechdel’s habit of drawing her       characters very simply and yet distinctly with the attention to detail that she devotes to             the background, those TV shows and posters on the wall, not to mention the intricacies of     the funeral home as a recurring backdrop.” (P. 23)  Diane Ellen Hamer contrasted.


It gets very hard when we are left with situations that we can never solve. Fun Home seems to be a reality life experience of Alison. After the dad passed on, just when she had noticed that the he was gay, she is left in mystery. I think this is the reason that makes her share the ordeal in a such way that she does. The art that she uses maybe is expressing what only words could not express. Alison is just one among many who uses a very different style to write. In however much, we do not expect her to to reveal to us the her real life-maybe this is why she assumes her age and dates back to the time when she was a child. Young children are honest and is very rare to find them lying. This make us of course that the story is true.

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