Fun Home has been an interesting bit of material to read. Often with books and graphic novels, the stories we are discussing are works of fiction, and while they have a heavy influence from the authors life, fiction is still in the area of dismissal. We can look at it and go ‘wow, that’s awful, these people are terrible characters,’ or ‘I’m glad this didn’t happen in real life.’ With this graphic novel we aren’t given such luxury. Everyone really existed, all the events happened, and all of the insight from the narration is from the truly main character: the author reflecting on her life. Despite Bechdel’s explicit attempts to show her parents are complex, showing both the good and bad sides of her parents, they are still her perception of them. Their humanity is presented to us through several layers of filtered perspective. The page written by a reflecting author trying to portray memories of the past, sometimes decades into her childhood. She makes a point to tell the readers that she is an unreliable narrator, but it still comes across as something missing from the parents. But that just might be my personal response to the work. I honestly can’t believe that two parents can be that awful to their kid, even when she’s trying to paint them I a positive light, they still come off as depressed and angry. Which now that I’m thinking about it is probably the point.
Despite all my qualms, I do relate to Bechdel, if only in little ways. I often find myself comparing the people around me to literary characters, but they are often not from such lofty titles like The Great Gatsby. College as a freeing experience and a time of self-discovery I feel is something everyone in class can relate to.
In short I can see why this is taught in a literary class.