Bechdel’s first three chapters are filled with the control ridden childhood that she lived because of her father’s issues. It was quite sad to see how the father’s repressed sexuality drove him to never develop relationships with anyone in his family, and that it caused him to remain solely focused on the redecorating of his house.
Bechdel uses many allusions throughout the first half of her piece, but the ones that stood out to me were the comparison of her father to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s and her family to the Adams family. Both of these references bring a dark light to her family dynamic and her father as a whole. She uses the Adams family reference to drive home the morbidity that surrounded her life due to a) her family working at the “fun home” and b) how cold her family unit was. She spoke about how the most striking resemblance between her family and the Adams family was the cavalier attitude that they had towards death due to the family business. After continuing to read about Bechdel’s attitude towards her father’s death I wondered if growing up around death made her less subject to grieve or her lack of a relationship with him influenced her. The comparison of her father to Gatsby and Fitzgerald himself really helped portray how unhappy her father truly was. These references also helped me further understand the line ” … my parents are most real to me in fictional terms,” Bechdel not only employs the use of allusion to help us further understand the dynamic between her parents but also does this to help us understand her view of them. Bechdel talks about how their marriage always seemed fake to them and these references helped me understand how far apart her parents really lived even under the same roof.
All in all, her family dynamic was quite disheartening, but Bechdel does a good job of helping the reader understand it through allusions.