Monday, 28 November 2011

Mindless Banter 5: Between the Parents

It is mentioned in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home that her parents don't get along very well. While it is true that every marriage has its' arguments, it doesn't tend to consist of things crashing and objects flying.

The second time Isabel, Alison's mother spoke, all she said was "whorehouse" (page 21) as a comment to a chandelier Bruce had brought home. Alison's parents both appear to be people of very few words.

On page 75 was the first scene of the two parents interacting intimately. Before Bruce left on a weekend trip, he gave Isabel a quick peck on the lips and scurried out the door. The second intimate interaction was the next panel on the same page, and Isabel is seen placing her hand on his back while they sit around and watch television.

These are both very minor interactions and Bruce and Isabel don't show any signs of affection towards each other. In fact, Bruce has the tendency to do the opposite, lashing out at her, swearing and calling her demeaning names. He once yelled out, "You're the one with the problem, crazy bitch!" (page 77) as he tore out pages from a library book.

Also on page 78-79, Bruce yells at her for not being able to read a map. Isabel gets out of the car, away from Bruce, only to shortly return to have Bruce call her a crazy bitch for doing so.

A part of me thinks that the reason Bruce was so harsh on Isabel was because he was afraid that she would probably want to leave him if she knew he was having affairs with men. However, "too good for her own good", Isabel ended up staying with him even though she knew.

Another part of me thinks that Isabel really loved Bruce. I think in an attempt to better him, maybe pull him away from his habits with other men, for his sake and the kids'. She stayed with Bruce even though it felt like she knew he didn't really love her.

Just a quick humorous post about what kinds of parents are the worst! I have to agree and say some of those would be rather awful... .  Link!

Post by Catherine Park

"Top 10 Parents from Hell." The Site, 04 Nov. 2005. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. <>.

  Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Catharine, I think you captured the awkward relationship between Alison’s parents. I would love to know more about her mother as a character since she wasn’t a “well-rounded” (as Heather nicely put it in her post) character. Heather’s post, mentioned that Alison is creating another graphic memoir (exciting!)….about her mother (even more Exciting!). So I was always curious about how her mother about the success of "Fun Home". I have a feeling it might have not been a blast for her, having her personal life exposed in such a manner.

    I really enjoy the story as a story from Alison's point of view. It’s probably because Alison did make this true story truly entertaining. Alison's humorous and intelligent treatment sugarcoated to serious grim reality of what’s going on… hence making it a Tragicomic/Tragicomedy”. I always thought her mother’s role in fun home brought the readers back to the stern reality of the story. Her parts was not as sugarcoated (with a layer of dark humor). Bruce was expressionless for the whole darn thing, and that WAS a part of his character. After getting to know who he was, it made sense that he had that stern expression throughout the memoir. But when I look at Alison’s mother, I feel a little more uncomfortable that she bares that same expression. It’s a little hard to explain, but I feel like it doesn’t belong with her. That it isn’t a part of her character, she’s capable of smiling, but her expression was response to how she felt. I sense that she might have felt like she was being trapped and in general I feel that she was sad. I don’t want to make the conclusion that she was depressed all of her life. It is just what I gathered from Alison’s telling.

    So yeah, I’m quite curious about how Alison’s mother thinks about all of this… My mom, would ahem... would be not so happy to put it in nice words of course if she shared a similar life story as Alison’s mother.

    So I found this interview where Alison talks about how her mother felt about “Fun Home” and how “Are you my mother?: A Comic Drama”. I’m already worried about how her mother might take the title! It says it’s a “Comic Drama”…. If she works with the same magic that she did with her “Tragicomic”, then I can see it working.

    Again her play on words ‘Tragicomic’ as in Tragedy and comic (format) or comedic tragedy. “Comic Drama” being a comedic drama or comic(format) drama…. Hmmmm.

    - Post by: Leanne Lau