Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Topics: Truth, Narrative, The Reader Pages: 3 (1778 words) Published: October 28, 2014

In Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Bechdel’s writing, specifically the ethical considerations (and sometimes lack thereof) taken when portraying characters, shape the text in ways that suggest separation between Bechdel as a narrator and Bechdel as a character in her own story. Although the character that Bechdel describes seems to falsify the past at times, Bechdel as a narrator retains the reader’s trust by showing her character’s obvious flaw in memory through her perspective as a child, coupled with observations made by the adult Bechdel narrating the work. These two perspectives lead to the reality the reader finds themselves in with Bechdel at the story’s close. This “reality” is truth as we know it; what we perceive to be real life. The formerly mentioned observations take the form of re- occurring illustrations of seemingly minor objects that reveal her character’s inner workings. Bechdel confronts the ethical concerns in how she portrays other characters by showing the reader this younger character’s flawed perspective and the link between this character and the narrator, how these flawed memories shape the comic into a trustworthy autobiography of events in Bechdel’s life. Although the text is narrated by the trustable Bechdel, questions of ethics in how she portrays her characters surface early on for the reader. Bechdel portrays her father as an uncaring, selfish, largely abusive father in her life. Bechdel draws her father looking quite detached from his family, staring at a teenage alter boy- we are made to think- inappropriately. The reader doesn’t doubt that her father was abusive because of the frequent description of aggressive outbursts and the scars left in her memory. This abuse is shown when her father breaks dishes on the floor during a family dinner in a fit of rage. We accept this as true reality because of the scar Bechdel so vividly remembers acquiring, signing the piece of floor where the dish broke as a “permanent linoleum...
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