Monday, September 22, 2014

Prompt 2: The Mansion vs. The "Fun House"

                Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, is in my opinion, a comment on the flaws of society as a whole. Bechdel spends her childhood with her mother, father, and siblings in a large mansion that her father, Bruce, is infatuated with restoring and improving even though it is already complete as far as fixtures and furniture and appearance goes. Bechdel also spends time living with her grandmother in the family owned funeral home which she refers to as the “Fun Home,” as she enjoys her time spent there more so than the time she spent at her other house. I believe that this is some sort of metaphor for closet homosexuals versus those who are openly gay.
                Bechdel’s father was married to a woman, but was secretly having affairs with younger men. Just like the mansion, his marriage and family looked perfect from the outside, but things weren’t as good as they seemed. Bruce seemed like the ideal husband to some, but Alison wrote on page 17: “But would an ideal husband have sex with teenage boys?” In the photo on that page, Bruce’s eyes can be seen staring at one of the altar boys, probably checking him out. Bruce was married and wanted to keep the façade of his “perfect family” intact, and coming out as gay would’ve changed all of that. It became evident that when his wife was thinking about filing for divorce he decided to take his own life rather than have the truth come out. I believe that Bechdel was trying to point out that if society were more accepting of homosexuals, maybe Bruce never would have married a woman in the first place and could’ve been comfortable with being with a man openly.

                The “Fun Home” was the place Alison preferred to stay. Ironically, it was a funeral home, which is not a place where your average child would enjoy living. However, compared to the mansion, the funeral home was a lot better, partly because Alison’s grandmother lived there, and she would tell stories about Alison’s father getting stuck in the mud as a child, which painted him as being vulnerable, which is a trait that he did not show off around his kids. Everything in the “Fun Home” is straightforward and as it appears. From the dead bodies lying in the caskets to the modest furniture and fixtures, what you see is what you get at the “Fun House.” This is symbolic of Alison being openly gay later in her life. Unlike her father, she tells her mother that she is gay and is able to openly be who she really wants to be, regardless of what others think. 


  1. You might be able to strengthen and add some depth to your argument if you chose to focus on the fun house more than the family mansion. Although your main focus is the fun house, the addition of the family home information in the first paragraph sort of misleads the reader as you have more information overall focusing on the funeral home in the second two paragraphs.

    I liked your use of metaphor for Alison and her father's sexuality in relation to the fun house and feel your should expand that argument with the help of details found in the text, but more so the in the panel images themselves. You may also want to consider choosing either Alison or Bruce to focus on if you plan on using the Fun House for a revision.

  2. This is a very simplistic reading, focusing on the most obvious material in the book and not treating any details in depth. To take something critical and central: her father is central to her experience of the fun house, too - he's the undertaker! That doesn't mean your claim that the truth is more at the surface in the fun house is wrong, but you needed to deal with her father in the fun house, as well as with her existence in both houses - Michael points out something similar in his second paragraph.

    In short: you keep it very short, very simple, and very obvious. Any argument which is going to be obviously correct to an educated reader is too simple. You needed to find *some* way of doing something a little more complex or contentious.