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Critical Analysis of Alison Bechdel’s Autobiography Fun Home

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Endearing in many ways, Alison Bechdel’s autobiography, Fun Home, shows readers that stories, metaphors, and archetypes can allow us to comprehend a person’s troubles. Allison’s characters embody transformative aspects where they become ciphers and reflections of people living in the real world. Furthermore, Allison’s recollections of a family unit that was physically, intellectually, and emotionally monopolized by her father, Bruce Bechdel, echoes fictional allusions of an unconventional storyline as a way to broadcast multiple perspectives. For instance, Camus’ ‘A Happy Death’ and ‘The Myth of Sphsius,’ showcases different prospects of death and its questionable absurdity at the time of Bruce’s theorized suicide. On the other hand, the workings and life of F. Scott Fitzgerald illustrate domestic bliss and the idealized life of being married which captures the thoughts of a young Bruce during the military. Despite Fitzgerald’s work incorporated into the storyline, the play ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ more clearly represents married life between Allison’s mother, Helen, and her father, Bruce. In a place where their marriage is thwarted, Helen becomes a shell of her former youthful glow from the animosity held by Bruce. Sometimes, these fictional illusions offer Alison comfort and an optimistic perspective on her skewed sense of the nature of her household, with comparisons from works such as ‘The Adam’s Family’ and ‘The Wind and the Willows.’ Through the copious observations of her family’s flaws and moments of connection, readers begin to understand Bechdel’s perspective that regardless of how truthful a text may be, an authentic reality offers more agony and contentment.

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These fictional allusions, however, do exhibit tender breakthroughs between sexuality and the simple comforts between Allison and Bruce’s relationship. For instance, part of the graphic novel divulges into Alison’s exploration of her sexual identity and at times, possibly crosses the boundary of fixated gender/heteronormativity. Alison’s sexual awakening as a lesbian reveals a fictional allusion surrounding sexual freedom when she takes a college course covering James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses.’ When Bruce offers Allison the book, ‘Earthly Paradise,’ it allows her to read, ‘Flying,’ which is a symbolic reading of Allison and Bruce’s unspoken connection regarding homosexuality. Although their natural cores and disposition foil with one another, their literary allusions offer great meaning in one another which is said at the beginning of the graphic novel and reiterated at the very end. In chapter 7, Allison states, “What if Icarus hadn’t hurtled into the sea? What if he’d inherited his father’s inventive bent? What might he have wrought? He did hurtle into the sea, of course. But in the tricky reverse narration that impels our entwined stories, he was there to catch me when I leapt ().” The symbolism of Daedalus, Icarus, and the Minotaur not only reveals the tragic narrative of Bruce labeling himself as a monster due to his homosexuality/bisexuality but how Allison’s character is a juxtaposition of her father. The Greek myth is probably the truest fictional allusion of Alison’s relationship with her father since when Bruce ‘fell,’ he was there to reach for Allison when she decided it was time to ‘fly,’ Without Bruce and capturing the essence of Alison’s complex past, it would never have been possible for Allison to come into her skin and ‘fly with wings’, garnering her coming of age, openness, and acceptance of reality.

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Critical Analysis of Alison Bechdel’s Autobiography Fun Home. (2022, March 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-analysis-of-alison-bechdels-autobiography-fun-home/
“Critical Analysis of Alison Bechdel’s Autobiography Fun Home.” Edubirdie, 17 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/critical-analysis-of-alison-bechdels-autobiography-fun-home/
Critical Analysis of Alison Bechdel’s Autobiography Fun Home. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-analysis-of-alison-bechdels-autobiography-fun-home/> [Accessed 27 Sept. 2022].
Critical Analysis of Alison Bechdel’s Autobiography Fun Home [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 17 [cited 2022 Sept 27]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-analysis-of-alison-bechdels-autobiography-fun-home/
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