Finding True Identity in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home

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Picking up the book Fun Home, one would imagine that the novel would embellish some sort of comical life story of a misunderstood teenager. Although the short comic-book structured novel does have its sarcastic humor, Alison Bechdel explains her firsthand account of growing up with the difficulty of living of finding her true identity. Alison was a teenager in college when she discovered that she was a lesbian, however, the shock came when she also discovered her father was homosexual. I feel that the most influencing panel in Fun Home is where Alison and her father are in the car alone together. Not only does this panel explain the entirety of the novel in a few short speech bubbles, but it is the defining scene that connects both Alison and her father together for the first time (221). This explains the absences of Alison’s father in her life, and the scary realization that both characters are more alike than different. The car scene must be broken into spectrums to fully analyze what is happening. The only way to understand the Alison’s feelings to observe the illustrations and expressions she uses.
The only way to understand the meaning of Alison’s words is to understand the appearance and structure of the panel. The structure of this panel spans the entire page, which is just one of two other panels throughout the book to have its own full page. The smaller individual panels themselves show no outside light, only the glimpse of what we expect to be cars passing. This gives the illusion that Alison and her father are stopped in time, where they are alone in solitary confinement. This is almost a prison affect where the individuals are forced to talk with each other, even though they both are un-easy on the situation (221). A...

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... and her father lived a difficult life with their identity. Let us understand where Alison is coming from; here is a woman who has lost the only person that can fully understand what she has lived through. Perhaps this why this scene is set apart, because it resembles the connection that they will share for only a short brief moment. The book itself might be written for her father, who did not get the chance to fully find himself. Whatever the case may be, the scene in the car entitles the themes that jam our brains and make us think. The isolation car scene shows us that even though Alison did not know her father until he sadly died a few weeks later, we can see the parental bond they both share. Both characters needed each other the whole time; it was just ironic that Alison finally got through to her father in the final weeks of his life.

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Fun Home

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