Thursday, 24 November 2011

Voice and Tone

Though most of the things that happened to Bechdel's life were dark and serious, she manages to keep it witty. This demonstrates her type of character. A person who's quite optimistic despite of the outcomes. She opens up her most intimate memories and successfully illustrates it. Her narrative is always supported with a very specific well-chosen visual. She doesn't just illustrate what the text says. The image is doing something different than what the narrative is doing but somehow still connects.

 In the first chapter: Old Father Old Artificer, as she self reflects on her early years, she tries to make sense of her life (home, dysfunctional family and herself) in a light of her adult perspective. Bechdel was very accurate in elucidating her childhood reaction to things. Her writing seemed very nostalgic and bittersweet. A mood which remained consistent throughout the book. "It was a discomfort well worth the rare physical contact, and certainly worth the moment of perfect balance when I soared above him" (pg 3). According to what she felt at the time, obviously resonates in her words which helps the reader understand her more. Her thoughts. Her personality. Her feelings. As she dives into what she thrives to understand, the deeper she gets.

Here's a video of a "Reading and Discussion by a Graphic Artist: Alison Bechdel" where she shares her early influences and creative process to her work. I enjoy sharing videos of her because it clearly reflects on what type of person she is and also because you get to hear her voice and tone


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

" » Blog." Web. 24 Nov. 2011. <>.

Heather Agoncillo

1 comment:

  1. Heather, I found the same video, but didn't go through all of it. I was interested by the last part during the Q&A when she said that her father actually smiled quite a bit and she didn't really capture that quality in her book, and she further notes that she did that because she "had to make it fit my story" and "memoir's fiction". (that is at 53:00 incase anyone wants to catch that). Interesting interesting how she put that. Well her memoir was entertaining because of those little "edited" details. I'm not going to start calling her memoir a controversy... it's no "JT Leroy" heh.

    For sure she's witty, that's her charm in writing. Dark comedies are becoming more and more popular, I actually remember thinking about that around 2004-2007. Desperate Housewives was on TV and Sweeney Todd the musical became a movie. Self deprecating humour was also ever present. It's defiantly an interesting way to tell a story and I believe Alison found her voice through her stark humour as well.

    Other dark comedy memoirs: Dumbfounded by Matt Rothschild,
    Anything by Augusten Burroughs and Bedwetter by Sara name a few.

    - Leanne Lau