In the book Fun Home, Bechdel’s father uses the house as a crutch to keep his life composed. The ways he improves the house symbolizes his personal emotions which he doesn’t exhibit externally. There is a superficial technique that he uses to construct the house. He often transforms objects from the trash into something beautiful. Cost effectiveness is a smart attribute, but there is a sense that he is falsifying the object by changing it into something that it isn’t. Decorating the house in this manner acts like a mask that hides what is truly real. There is an interesting interpretation in one of the images on page 10. It shows the father lifting a flagstone, but the shadow behind him does not match with his lifting position. This shows that he has an underlying motive for the task and someone else is actually doing the work.
Bechdel’s father gave off a feminine persona with interests in flowers, decorating, and clothing appearance. Most of the materials he picked for the house were soft like velvet. Along with the garden of flowers, he kept vases of flowers around the house. The father couldn’t freely express his interests in public, so he transposed them onto the house and his family. Eventually the reader finds out that father has a homosexual relationship with several people. This could be where some of his qualities emerge. The father also has an obnoxiously large bookshelf in the library. The importance is shown in how large it is and how often he loans books to people. When he reads, he puts himself in the character shoes and lives their life. The outlet of living the life of someone else is where he really saw as satisfaction.
The attributes of the house were of an old and wealthy family. Other kids marvel at the sight of the house, but Bechdel sees it as just a normal house. The father focused on items rich people would own for control of the past and wealth. He uses auction catalogs for ideas on what to put in the house. Input from the family is quickly tossed aside which shows his deception of their cooperation. The children often complained about the intricate furniture being hard to dust. Bechdel resented all of this and goes as far as to say she wants to grow up in a metal house. The father even uses the house to control the guests that he invites. People often get disoriented with all the mirrors, statues, and multiple doorways setup around the house. This is linked to the story of the Minotaur in the labyrinth. She goes on to say the labyrinth is, “A maze of passages and rooms opening endlessly into one another…” which is eerily similar to the house. The people in the Minotaur story are trapped and never escape. She combines this part of the story with her father throwing a plate on the floor. This implies that the father is the Minotaur and she doesn’t know when he will act this way.
There is an image of him carrying a post is similar to that of Jesus carrying the cross. This shows the significance of the house and what it represents to the father. He is always striving and sacrificing to reach the goal of being content with his life. It is something that he loves, but also is a burden to him and his family. Bechdel uses the words “passion”, “manic”, and “martyered” to describe her father’s relationship with the house. He uses his family as workers to help fulfill his jobs around the house.
Sometimes changing the house is not enough control and brings out emotions of anger towards family. He disciplines the children for moving a vase slightly out of place. The father threatens Bechdel because she kept refusing to wear the hair clip. It is evident that he knows Bechdel is not similar to other girls. She wants to dress differently, has odd interests, and experiments with sexuality books. It is as if the father is confined to what is socially acceptable and therefore makes his daughter follow the same rules. Bechdel points out that in public, her father comes off as an ideal husband and father. Putting up a front to mislead the community to what was really going on in the family.Even after all the efforts to improve the house, satisfaction for his work still doesn’t seem to be enough for him. There is always something that needs to be readjusted to suit his needs. The results of his work are welcomed with him saying “slightly perfect.” The wording implies that perfect is never obtainable in his eyes and he will never be content with his changes.