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Fun Home Written by Alison Bechdel

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Faith Wilkins

Professor McCleese

ENG 134

29 October 2016

Sexual Identity

In the graphic novel Fun Home, written by Alison Bechdel expresses the authors feelings during the process and struggle of discovering her own sexuality and the sexuality of others. In the book Fun Home there are multiple ways sexuality is expressed throughout the novel. Bechdel’s novel is written as a memoir, a narrative written by an individual that depicts things, persons, or events, he or she has known about or experience. I think she reflects and analyzes her life to uncover secrets she was unable to translate on her own in the past because of her father’s shame in himself.

        Alison writes this memoir to explain the process of discovering that she is attracted to woman and the different emotions she has about coming out to her family. She describes her home life as a kid as very unpleasant way of living. Her parents don’t get along and her father is very demanding and creates an isolated household. She starts to become obsessive compulsive to gain control parts of her life due to the discomfort in her home. Bechdel is rarely shown any affection during her childhood. Her mother is always drawn in a position turned away from Alison, a sign to show she is unable to interact with her daughter. As she grows older she begins to discover likeness towards men’s clothing and her attraction to women. This is first shown when Alison putting on her dads suits with her high school friend describing this scene as a “mystical pleasure” (Bechdel 182). When Alison goes off to college she embraces her sexual identity easier. She becomes a member of the “Gay Union” and shortly after confesses to her parents about her identity. Even though Alison confessed about her sexuality, there were times when she still contemplated is she was a lesbian or not. But, through all the complications in her life she creates a detailed memoir to embrace who she really is as a person. After her confession she sees her father in a different way discovering his secrets and becoming closer to him.

        Bruce Bechdel is portrayed as a very demanding character who hides his secret about his homosexuality from Alison for most of her life. When Alison confesses to her parents about her sexuality it encourages her mother Helen to reveal her father’s secret to Alison. Although both had similar situations in being gay or lesbian, they handled the situations very differently. Alison was very open about her sexuality, while her father was not open about the countless affairs he had. Bruce seems to be scared about his coming out, as it is reflected on pages 220 and 221 by the graphic drawings expressing the fear he has on his face during the conversation of homosexuality. Alison tries to bond over their similarities, but her father struggles with his shame to truly confess himself to his daughter. Through Bechdels memoir she is trying to look back and find information to uncover the secrets of her father. She creates an opportunity to discover these secrets in a way she wasn’t able to when they were happening. Bechdel states “he was there to catch me when I leapt” (232), but the image shown to us does not show us that this is true. It is not certain that we can trust her words when her illustration does not match up.  Bechdel seems to try to create closure between herself and her father. There appears to still be some unresolved space between them both due to her father’s shame in his sexuality.

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