Themes Of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity In Fun Home And Washington Square

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In Alison Bechdel 's graphic memoir Fun Home, the author reflects upon her childhood and her father Bruce. Bruce Bechdel is a closeted homosexual. He dies under suspicious circumstances which lead Alison to believe it was suicide. Her father was clearly unhappy in his life which was due in great part to the fact that he had to hide his orientation. The memoir explores the main themes of sexual orientation, gender identity and artifice. By using the characterization of Bruce Bechdel and allusions to Washington Square by Henry James, Fun Home shows how living a lie can be harmful to an individual as well as those closest to him.
From a stranger 's perspective, Bruce appears to lead an a perfect life. However, these are just appearances as Bruce
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In Washington Square, Catherine, a daughter neglected and looked down upon by her father falls in love with Morris Townsend. Townsend is more interested in Catherine inheritance than Catherine herself, yet he pretends that he is in love with Catherine. Ultimately, this hurts Catherine when she discovers the truth behind Townsend 's affection, it hurts Townsend himself, for he does not marry Catherine, nor does he receive her inheritance. Finally, it hurts Dr. Sloper who is Catherine father because he dies expecting Catherine to betray him after his death. Much like Bruce himself and his family are hurt because they must partake in living his lie, so are Henry James ' characters hurt by Morris Townsend 's lie. Furthermore, the main use of the allusion to Washington Square is to highlight the betrayal felt by Helen when she discovered Bruce 's affairs with his students. Bechdel describes the plot of the novel as "[a] plain, dull, but wealthy young woman falls in love with the smooth-talking fortune hunter, Morris Townsend" (66 panel 2). This illustrates that Morris was merely playing a role to achieve the end he wanted. When Catherine discovers Townsends real goals, she is distraught and he is also the reason her father disinherits her. Just as when Helen discovers Bruce 's homosexuality, she feels betrayed, but she is helpless because she has left her past life behind in order to follow him. In summary, both men 's lies hurt them as well as the people closest to

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