Artifice in Fun Home

     Bechdel uses quotes from literature to symbolize and highlight her father’s own distance and inability to idependently express himself.  These manifest themselves in many different ways, whether in dialogue or through the reflections of the narrator.  Bechdel’s father reads constantly, and quotes passages to his family, highlights them for himself, and looks for similarites between his favorite works and his own life.  Bechdel uses this to portray him as a man obsessed- just as he is with his garden, his furniture, etc.  Just as all the extraneous details he loves are inauthentic, so too are his own thoughts and actions.  Even his photographs are an inauthentic testament to a heterosexual existence he is attempting to portray to others. Whether he is attempting to model his life after a Greek myth or quoting Gatsby to his young daughter, he is filling in the blanks in his own life with sentiments approximated from others.  His job as an English teacher facilitates this tendency.

    Bechdel uses this to characterize her father.  It also reveals a lot about her.  She is a bookworm, just as her father is, and draws comparisons between him and various authors just as he does.  The fact that she is referencing these works of literature, and displaying her scholarly tendencies shows us that she is not only complicit in this way of living her father has taught her, but that she carries it on even today, or at least at the time of writing Fun Home.  In that sense, it is probably the way that she is most like her father, and the best indication that she is in fact a product of her father and his upbringing.

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