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    An Analysis of the Points of View and Truth in the Memoir Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

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    Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is a memoir in which Bechdel recounts her childhood in rural Pennsylvania. In a recursive narrative style, the graphic memoir focuses on the relationship between her and her father, Bruce Bechdel. The book bluntly illustrates both persons’ emotional and psychological struggles and how they cope with homosexuality. Many of the panes in Fun Home and title pages of each chapter feature old photographs, newspaper clippings, maps, or letters. These visual aids can present competing points of view as Bechdel narrates her story, and as a result, truth becomes a significant subject in Fun Home.

    Bechdel’s attempt at recording her life is undermined by her uncertainty in the truth of her story. She hints at further uncertainty in her story by citing her childhood journal. For example, Bechdel becomes preoccupied with real life because she believes that language has failed her. Her diary entries become less concrete as she continues to write. Her statements evolve from brief recaps of the day to literal blood stains on pages. Finally, she concludes that “it was a sort of epistemological crisis.

    How did I know that the things I was writing were absolutely, objectively true? My simple, declarative sentences began to strike me as hubristic at best, utter lies at worst” (141). In what Bechdel tells us was a bit of an early crisis about perceptions and absolute truth, it becomes evident that Bechdel’s childhood-self is an unreliable narrator. She glosses over major events in her own life and her father’s story, and the phrase “I think” becomes prevalent in her diary. As an adult narrator, she probes truth in her stories by revisiting events in her life and considering the circumstances surrounding her father’s death. Did Bechdel’s coming out or Bruce’s marital troubles have anything to do with his death, or could it be considered suicide? At the time, she did not understand, but looking as an adult, things are painfully clear. These issues mean that Bechdel refuses to influence the reader’s perception when she presents new information or facts by revisiting events.

    The scene in the funeral parlor, following Bruce’s death, is one instance in which Bechdel revisits past events in order to explore truth. She postulates “my numbness, along with all the mealy-mouthed mourning, was making me irritable…what would happen if we spoke the truth? I didn’t find out” (125). This text is split into two panes, and the images are nearly identical. The first is an imagined situation; frustrated, Bechdel reveals what she believes to be the motives behind her father’s death.

    In the second pane, Bechdel shows the actual interaction with one of the mourners. She is calm and simply accepts his condolences without hinting at the truth. Bruce’s death is ruled an accident, but Bechdel believes it to be suicide. Fun Home gives Bechdel the chance to piece together the events of her childhood in a more realistic narrative. She states that she undergoes “an abrupt and wholesale revision of my history” (79) as her mother reveals that Bruce had sexual encounters with other men. After experiencing her own journey in college and realizing that she is a lesbian, she must revisit events of the past to gain an accurate interpretation of truth in her story.

    Bechdel also spends a significant part of the narrative exploring what is real to her in the wake of her father’s passing. She includes images, books, photographs, and letters alongside her writing to establish credibility. By including these visual aids, she is able to draw upon realistic events the truth. These are part of what makes Alison Bechdel who she is; they are pieces of her own story.

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    An Analysis of the Points of View and Truth in the Memoir Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. (2023, Jan 06). Retrieved from

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