I liked reading the second half of Fun Home much more than the first half. Bechdel’s portrayal of her life was not as disturbing as she focused more on how her father lived through her vicariously rather than his role in their family and his affairs with younger men. Additionally, her tone became less cold and more vulnerable, which I believe made the novel easier to read because it made Bechdel seem more human.
With regards to the weight the words and pictures held in the second half of the graphic novel, I would say that they were even for the most part, until around pages 220-221 where both Bechdel and her father confide in each other about their sexualities. In these two pages, the words hold way more weight than the images— there is not much action in the illustrations. This conversation between Bechdel and her father demonstrates a turning point in their relationship. Since her childhood, Bechdel has been trying to find common ground with her father in order to form a genuine connection and relationship with him. However, she has been unsuccessful until this moment. Bechdel is able to bond with her father about dressing in the opposite gender’s clothing and speak freely with her father.
However, Bechdel then continues on to compare their exchange not as the “sobbing, joyous reunion of Odysseus and Telemachus,” but “more like the fatherless Stephen and sonless Bloom having their equivocal late-night cocoa at 7 Eccles Street” (221). Rather than being a moment of acceptance for them both, this exchange is more of an unburdening for Bechdel’s father. Whereas Bechdel has been comfortable with her sexuality for much of her life, Bruce has had to repress his sexuality. Due to this, there is an unexpected shift in roles, with Bechdel mentioning that she felt “distinctly paternal” during this conversation (221).
This conversation is arguably the most important scene of the novel because of how it demonstrates both Bechdel’s and Bruce’s escape from their repressed feelings. I think that Bechdel chose to minimize the action in the images in order to emphasize exactly what is said between her and her father. The lack of action in the images also demonstrates the tone of the conversation, which in this case, seemed to be slightly awkward. Not only does it indicate the awkward tone of the conversation, but it also emphasizes the expressions on Bechdel’s face during the conversation.