"Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" Analysis Essay

"Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" Analysis Essay

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Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, documents the author's discovery of her own and her father's homosexuality. The book touches upon many themes, including, but not limited to, the following: sexual orientation, family relationships, and suicide. Unlike most autobiographical works, Bechdel uses the comics graphic medium to tell her story. By close-reading or carefully analyzing pages fourteen through seventeen in Fun Home one can get a better understanding of how a Bechdel employs words and graphic devices to render specific events. One can also see how the specific content of the pages thematically connects to the book as a whole. As we will see, this portion of the book echoes the strained relationship between Bruce Bechdel and his family and his attempts to disguise his homosexuality by creating the image of an ideal family, themes which are prevalent throughout the rest of the nook.
Let's start by examining page fourteen panel by panel, starting with the panel itself and illustrations within the panel. As one can see the author has elongated the panel to fit the width of the page. This was most likely done to fit the whole scene into the panel and to indicate that the scene probably spans more than 30 seconds. Examining the illustrations of the setting and people, one can tell that Bechdel stays towards the middle of the realism/abstraction scale meaning that that the images are neither too abstract nor photo realistic. Lines are used to show features such as the hair of all family members and the father's pants. Lines are also use to depict the shiny surfaces of the furniture cabinet on the left and the mirror right above it. The use of three-dimensional figures and objects created ...

... middle of paper ...

...ideas of pages sixteen and seventeen.
When one actually close-reads a small segment one realizes the large amount of information that can be said about just that segment. In this case it was only four pages from Fun Home, and each page seemed to have a life of its own. Page 14 touched upon the relationship between Bruce Bechdel and his family, while page fifteen gave insights into the father-daughter relationship. Then pages 16 and 17 dealt with hidden truths and the creation of false appearances. Then there were the the literary and graphical devices: the extensive use of line, the use of gray shading, stretched panels vs. compact panels, interdependent word-picture relationships, etc. the clear illustrations and relatively simple prose made the process a bit easier, but that opinion may have been different if the process involved close-reading the whole book.

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