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Alison Bechdel's Fun Home

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Erica Bratton

on 2 December 2014

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Transcript of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home

Alison Bechdel's
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

About the Author: Alison Bechdel
Born September 10, 1960 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania to a Roman Catholic Family
Her family owned a funeral home
Attended Simon's Rock College, later graduated from Oberlin college in 1981
Came out as a lesbian to her parents at the age of 19


Fun Home
Summary and Themes
The narrative is centered around Bechdel's family, specifically on her relationship with her father, Bruce Bechdel
Bruce is a funeral home director, high school English teacher, and a closeted homosexual
the title Fun Home comes from the family's nickname for the funeral home
At age 44, Bruce steps in front of an oncoming bread truck and is killed. This occurs shortly after Bechdel decides to come out to her parents, causing her to question whether or not her coming out was a trigger for her father's suicide (?)
The novel examines her sexual development, from childhood diary excerpts, to stories about masturbation and even her first sexual experiences with a girlfriend named Joan
Major themes in the novel include sexual orientation, gender identity, and literature
Overview of Narrative approach
Narrative begins in chronological order, describing Alison's early childhood memories of her father
After that, the novel takes on a cyclical storyline, returning to major events but detailing other stories as well
Timeline:
Alison comes out to her parents
2 weeks later: she finds out her father is gay
A few months later: Her father's death (suicide?)
Frame Analysis
Works Cited
Bechdel's Publications/ Accomplishments
Fighting Feminist Ideals and Conflict with Father
Roy the Babysitter
Stonewall Riots
Coming Out
Head Turn
"Fun Home." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Badman, Derik. "Fun Home by Alison Bechdel." Quarterly Conversation RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.
Bechdel, Alison. "About." Dykes To Watch Out For. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.
McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics:. New York: HarperPerennial, 1994. Print.
Cvetkovich, Ann. "Drawing the Archive in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home." (n.d.): 111-28. Project Muse. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
Published in 1983 in Womannews
Ran until 2008
Comics were also published in The New Yorker, Slate, McSweeney's, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta
Dykes to Watch Out For
Published in 2006
Named Best Book by Time Magazine
Finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award
Received a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
A comic drama
Published in 2012
Considered a companion piece to
Fun Home
Focuses on Bechdel's relationship with her mother
Are you my Mother?
The LGBT Movement in the 1980's
The Democratic Party becomes the 1st major party in the U.S. to endorse homosexual rights platform
Scotland decriminalizes homosexuality
The Human Rights Campaign Fund is founded by Steven Endean
Visual Aesthetic
characters are drawn simply, with distinct facial features and expressions
detailed backgrounds
all illustrations are done in black ink with a blue- gray wash
Bechdel noted that the lack of color in her work was a rejection of the world in which she was raised, and even a rejection of her father, as he had no "aesthetic criteria" for judging her work
Fun Home
was written and illustrated over a span of seven years
Bechdel used the "photo reference" technique for her illustrations
She would often photograph herself posed as the character she was drawing, or search for an image online, and then reproduce the photo by hand
Reception of
Fun Home
In October, 2006, a local resident of Marshall, Missouri attempted to have the book banned from the town's public library; people in favor of its removal described the book as "pornography" and warned that children could read the book assuming it was a comic
Bechdel was honored by the attempted banning, and viewed it as an important step in the evolution of graphic novels as a relevant literary form
In 2013, a conservative group in South Carolina known as Palmetto Family attempted to have the book removed from a course for incoming freshmen at the College of Charleston, calling it pornography; the college provost defended the book, arguing that its themes of identity were appropriate for the themes of the course
seven months later, the SC House of Representatives cut the college's funding by $52,000 to punish them for selecting
Fun Home
, and by doing so, promoting the "gay and lesbian lifestyle"
people even went so far as to compare Bechdel and her work to slavery, Charles Manson, and Adolf Hitler
with the petitioning of ten different free- speech organizations, the funding was restored, under the condition that the money would be redirected towards the study of historically important documents
Full transcript