Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: Book Analysis

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In Fun Home, Alison Bechdel writes, “Our family was a sham… That our house was not a real home at all but the simulacrum of one, a museum.” (17) Throughout the graphic memoir, Bechdel presents her family as living in an artificial world: a façade of a perfect and united family mainly perpetuated by Bruce Bechdel’s disconnection from the family. As Bechdel reflects upon her unique upbringing in her graphic memoir, she explores the cause of her father’s distant presence. Bechdel specifically focuses on her father’s inner struggle to hide his true identity and how this affected the development of her own identity and character. Seemingly contradictory, Bruce’s internal turmoil isn 't the root of his apparent need to be distant from his family; …show more content…
Bechdel writes, "Then there are those famous wings. Was Daedalus really stricken with grief when Icarus fell into the sea?...Or just disappointed by the design failure?" (12) With this statement, Bechdel implies that her father ignores all emotional and personal ties to others in order to focus on the pursuit of artistic perfection, whether it 's through the beauty in literature, gardening, or home remodeling. This allusion portrays the overall effect of Bruce 's façade; to the rest of the world, he was Daedalus, a man only devoted to his craft, who ignored the beauty in emotional ties with his family when in reality behind the façade he is Icarus, foolish to a point where he eventually meets his downfall, which in Bruce 's case, is his …show more content…
Through Bechdel 's perspective from her childhood, Bruce lived behind a façade to hide his true identity. Because of his sexual identity, Bruce felt as if he was always fighting society and its expectation; he was justifying his sexual identity. The retreat to an alternative reality was his choice since Bruce knew society would never completely accept him. Instead of proudly showing his defiance to society, he decided to assimilate. By creating a family with a woman, Bruce showed that he preferred to be socially accepted rather than constantly fighting for his freedom of sexual expression, even if said decision lead to a lifetime of internal turmoil. But in the end, his self-oppression only lead to his downfall [most commonly identified as his death]. Continuing on this idea, Bechdel writes, "Sometimes, when things were going well, I think my father actually enjoyed having a family. Or at least, the air of authenticity we leant to his exhibit. A sort of still life with children." (13) Bechdel notes that even when her father seemed to enjoy having a family, he never was happy about having children, but rather he was glad because of the peace that it brought onto his social

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