Reality In Bechdel's Fun Home

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In Bechdel’s Fun Home, a graphic novel memoir about the relationship with her father, it is obvious that every member of the family engages with fiction. The reader constantly sees these characters reading literature, writing, and acting. However, their interactions with fiction do not end with books and plays. It seems that they each use fiction in some relation to reality; generally, to alter it. The two characters Helen and Bruce use fiction as way to escape and live in a preferred reality, while Alison uses fiction as a way to understand her reality.
Helen uses fiction as a way to escape reality. The particular form of fiction that Helen uses are her plays. She is deeply committed to becoming the character she is portraying. While this
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Perhaps he reads in order to live vicariously through the characters and their lives. But, he does not leave the fiction in the text. He projects how he envisions himself as these characters into reality. For example, Bechdel compares Bruce to Jay Gatsby saying, “If my father liked to imagine himself as a nineteenth-century aristocrat overseeing his estate from behind the leather-topped mahogany and brass second-empire desk did that require such a leap of imagination?” (60). This suggests that Bechdel believes Bruce thinks of himself as a version of Gatsby. In the Great Gatsby, his elaborate library symbolizes the façade he puts on for others. Bruce’s library is drawn in a similar manner with large shelves of unread books (61) and elaborate curtains and décor (60). This parallel between Gatsby’s library and Bruce’s demonstrates that he models himself after Gatsby. Or rather, that he wants people to think he is like Gatsby. He would much rather have people think of his reality as something similar to that of a fictional character, than the actual reality he lives in. Therefore, since he envisions himself as this aristocrat like Gatsby, he decorates his home in this manner to create an exterior image that reflects the fictional image of himself. Gatsby’s house is described as being decorated in a Gothic Style. The defining features of this style include elaborate decorations, patterned wall paper, ornamental …show more content…
She demonstrates this by constantly drawing parallels between the plot line of her story and plots of literary works. While there are countless examples of literary allusions in the text and in the images, its the references in the chapter titles that appear the most significant. For example, the fourth chapter title “In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower” is a translation of the title of one of the volumes in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. This literary work is a novel that recounts the experiences of a narrator while he is growing up, learning about art, and falling in love. Similarly, Bechdel talks about these themes in her fourth chapter. She recounts herself growing up as she develops breasts (109), attends gay bars (106), and discovers her gender identity (119). She also recounts herself engaging with art as she reads books (107), experiments with fashion (109), and examines photographs (120). The parallels between what Proust recalled in his novel and the mirror image way that Bechdel discusses these same ideas, demonstrates that she uses fiction to analyze and format her memories to better understand her reality. Perhaps Bechdel points out the literary works she uses in the chapter titles and in the story because she is unsure of the memories herself and by allowing the reader to look at her life through a literary lense like she does, they can hopefully better

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