OPTION A: “A PROPER BURIAL”: As you can see on the front page of the “Fun Home Notes” link, Alison Bechdel has described her book as way of giving her father “a proper burial.” You’ll soon see how complicated that is—try to carefully explain a few of these issues. (Chapter Two is the best place to start, but the complications surely don’t end there.) NOTE: There is a HANDOUT about this topic on our BB site. It should really help you take some notes to get started!
OPTION B: “A HOUSE FULL OF BOOKS”: In the essays by President Barack Obama and Isabel Allende, both speak of the ways in which books “gave voice” to ideas and feeling they had had but were not able to recognize or express. In Fun Home, it’s hard to find a scene in which Bruce or Alison is not holding a book. They also make a point to share books and discuss them. Again, please avoid writing a “list,” and focus on a specific scene (or two) and the series of texts that help Bruce or Alison to learn about themselves or to reveal something to each other. (The WIKI might help with some background and choices. Also see the HANDOUTS on our BB site.)
OPTION C: “UNRELIABLE NARRATIONS” (AGAIN): As we saw in Gatsby, there are many kinds of “unreliable” narrations in “fictional” texts. Bechdel and many other modern writers and artists explore the issue of “unreliability” in a different context.
Terms such as “autobiography” and “memoir” are often assumed to be “non-fiction” texts: one just writes about one’s own experiences and ideas OR those of people they know very well–such as a parent. BUT MAYBE IT’S NOT QUITE THAT SIMPLE. Please pay close attention to the numerous panels in which Alison Bechdel writes in her “diary”–a type of writing that is usually associated with complete honesty. What starts to get complicated about this process? And since this a “graphic” text, how does Bechdel use visual images to help a reader understand her uncertainty about describing even the simplest events in her family life?