In the first half of “Fun Home”, we saw frequent revisitations of mentions and ideas explored. This technique of Bechdel’s is only amplified in the later half of her graphic novel, as she exquisitely ties up her and her father’s intertwining complex relationship. Through her use of graphics, light images can be revisited and easily remembered, as we saw on page 210 when the similar image is used to recall a brief mention she made in chapter 2. The memoir is not able to be fully grasped in a singular image or quote- the full power and notability derives from her involved and intricate symbols, allusions, and images that reflect the “entwined stories” of their unique father-daughter connection. As a closeted and repressed “gay” man (we only assume he’s gay- Bechel states herself he may have been bisexual or had a different orientation) and open lesbian woman, they live as inverses- mirroring the self-doubt and repression, attraction to literature, and homosexual preference. To me, the most distinct aspect of their relationship is Bruce (the father) tendency to live vicariously through her, even if subconscious. In her coming out, both in the first half of the story and later chapters, her father is decently accepting of her coming out- recommending to her that self exploration is good and necessarily. He “almost” comes out to her- his note is very ambiguous and hard to decipher. Nevertheless, the last chapter of “Fun Home” explores an evolving attention and bond, both in English and personal acceptance.
This last chapter is also my favorite, as I pieced and united together every literary device Bechdel employed to envision the tying of the final moments of their relationship. The story makes you forget it is in fact a memoir and true story- it is almost too interconnected and fitting. The final few months/years of the relationship provides you with hope, as Alison comes out to her father and met with acceptance, their bonds over English, his own opening up and admission of sexuality, and new attention and ties they make. One interesting image in Chapter seven was on page, 218 when Alison attempts to bring up the topic of homosexuality with her father yet is met with “derision… and fear in his eyes”. His mockery is almost apparent- he has a small grin, which is especially unique because he is frowning through out the entire book. In addition, the tiny smile is eerily similar to the uncontrollable grin Alison has at her own father’s funeral. However, we kind of know this one is controlled and forced- in hopes to hid the fear in his eyes, which we can’t quite see or know. But through Alison’s words and descriptions, and revisitation of “fear in [ones] eyes”, we know that this exists. Her combination of images and words, I believe, play an equally important parts- the graphic novel distinction helps us explore the relation between words, literature, meaning, appearances, and passions, more than may have been able to with just a novel. It is truly emphasized that every aspect she includes is intentional, taking the time to draw and include it.