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A memoir done in the form of a graphic novel by a cult favorite comic artist offers a darkly funny family portrait that details her relationship with her father--a funeral home director, high school English teacher, and closeted homosexual.
Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic has quickly joined the ranks of celebrated literary graphic novels. Set in part at a family-run funeral home, the book explores Alison's complicated relationship with her father, a closeted gay man. Amid the tensions of her home life, Alison discovers her own lesbian sexuality and her talent for drawing. The coming-of-age story and graphic format appeal to students. However, the book's nonlinear structure; intertextuality with modernist novels, Greek myths, and other works; and frank representations of sexuality and death present challenges in the classroom. This volume offers strategies for teaching Fun Home in a variety of courses, including literature, women's and gender studies, art, and education. Part 1, "Materials," outlines the text's literary, historical, and theoretical allusions. The essays of part 2, "Approaches," emphasize the work's genres, including autobiography and graphic narrative, as well as its psychological dimensions, including trauma, disability, and queer identity. The essays give options for reading Fun Home along with Bechdel's letters and drafts; her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For; the Broadway musical adaptation of the book; and other stories of LGBTQ lives.
From the best-selling author of Fun Home, Time magazine’s No. 1 Book of the Year, a brilliantly told graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel becoming the artist her mother wanted to be. Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel’s own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother—to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.
This thesis will examine how Alison Bechdels 2006 graphic memoir "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" uses references to William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and their works to explore Bechdels and her fathers sexual identities and gender identities. First, I will argue that Bechdels use of dramatic intertextuality is often ignored in favour of her use of modernist canonical fiction. Then I will proceed to explain why dramatic intertextuality is important for the graphic narrative and for Fun Home in particular. Afterwards, I will specifically focus on the dramatic intertextual references to Shakespeare and Wilde. I will argue that Bechdel explores her own gender identity by indirectly referencing Shakespeares use of theatrical transvestitism. Then I will argue that she explores her fathers sexuality by comparing him to Oscar Wilde and the homosexual archetypes he used in his plays. I will conclude my thesis with a discussion on how Bechdel employs indirect and direct dramatic intertextual references and what these references convey about her gender identity and her fathers sexual identity.
Research Paper (undergraduate) from the year 2018 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Erfurt (Philosopische Fakultät), course: Literature in Images: Graphic Novels, language: English, abstract: This work analyzes the perception of authencity in "Fun Home". Alison Bechdel’s "Fun Home" from 2007 is a graphic memoir that tries to create a sense of truthfulness to the reality of the author’s memories by employing various means. This paper examines the techniques Bechdel uses for the creation of what may look for the reader like authenticity. By using for example Philippe Lejeune’s autobiographical pact the text closely analyzes the presentation of text and image concerning the protagonist Alison and the narrating voice as well as the role of photographs in the text. By investigating the protagonists self-portrayal through text and images this paper tries to point out the successfulness of appearing truth of the story as well as distinguish in which instance a disruption of before identified means in form of fictionalization can be found in the text and how this influences the perception of its authenticity. The second part of the paper then focuses on photography as another means to invoke a perception of truthfulness in the text with special attention to photography as means of memory and truth, based on theories by Roland Barthes and Marianne Hirsch as well as its possible fictionalization through the confines of the graphic novel genre and its significance in relation to the text’s authenticity.
Seminar paper from the year 2018 in the subject Literature - Modern Literature, grade: 3,0, University of Erfurt, course: Literature in images: Graphic Novels, language: English, abstract: A lot of graphic novels work with Intertextuality, because as a visual medium they can represent or quote another text even better than a normal novel. Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is a prime example of those graphic novels that use intertextuality. Her memoir is full of pop culture and book references. My thesis is that the literary works and stories she has woven into her story mirror her own story and exist to further illustrate her struggles coming of age.
Comics featuring LGBTQ children have the burden of challenging cis/heteronormative versions of childhood. Such examples of childhood, according to author Katherine Bond Stockton, are false and restrict children to a vision of innocence that leaves no room for queer children to experience their own versions of childhood. Furthermore, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community has taken a "progressive"-based approach to time, assuming that newer generations have avoided the trauma of the past because ideas about sexual orientation and gender have advanced with time. Newer generations of the LGBTQ community forget that many have struggled for change to occur, instead choosing to forget the wounds of the past. By analyzing two comic works--Alison Bechdel's graphic novel Fun Home and Sophie Labelle's web comic series Assigned Male--I argue that we must let go of our suspicion towards LGBTQ child characters and open ourselves up to what can be learned from them. I also argue that both the past (with its wounds and trauma) and the future must be accepted into the present in order to give children the childhood they desire, rather than the childhood we recall. Both Fun Home and Assigned Male demonstrate that childhood is far from the simplistic happy time of life and can be just as fraught with complication as adulthood. Rather than try to protect children from this, these authors argue that we should empower children to locate their own sense of authenticity, in terms of both gender and sexuality. I argue that children are full of possibility and wisdom to guide current populations and change the future for the better through their struggles.