Fun Home Discussion Guide: Home
(From the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund)
- How did Bechdel's relationship with her father change as she became an adult and a self-identified lesbian?
- Bechdel relied heavily on first hand sources such as letters, journals, and photographs to document her upbringing. One example of this is the series of photos on page 120. How do these media contribute to the authenticity of the book and influence her art?
- Fun Home's narrative in non-linear and moves fluidly between the past and the present, revisiting central incidents over and over again. In what ways does this structure impact the story?
- Dream sequences are frequently found in artistic expression. How does Bechdel's analysis and interpretation of her dreams and her emphasis on imagery enhance her storytelling?
- One of the reasons that Fun Home has been challenged is LGBTQ themes. In what ways is this public discomfort with sexual identity similar to the discomfort of the characters in the memoir? How does it differ?
- How does Bechdel's use of a limited color palette influence the story? Does it enhance or distract from the story? Explain your reasoning.
- Appearances are important to the Bechdel family, even though they do not often reflect reality. What are some examples from the story in which appearance and reality did not match, and how do these examples illustrate the tensions among the members of the Bechdel family?
- Bechdel has obsessive-compulsive tendencies, which began with a particularly intense onset at age 10. How did her obsessive-compulsive disorder contribute to the documentation of her childhood?
- Bechdel and her father connect over literature, and literary reference are integral to Fun Home. Identify some of these references. How did Bechdel’s various literary allusions impact her storytelling?
- On page 125, Bechdel imagines how things would differ if her family told the truth. Is Bechdel telling the truth in her own memoir? Explain your reasoning?
- Bechdel painstakingly drew Fun Home by hand, often reproducing actual photographs and journal entries. How do you think her reliance on drawing everything by hand versus using computer techniques impacts the narrative?
- Showing, which relays the action so the reader is experiencing it with the characters, and telling, which uses a narrator to fill in the reader about aspects of the story, are two tools by which creators relay action in their books. Bechdel uses both showing and telling in Fun Home. How might the story have differed if she used one and not the other? Is one method more honest than the other? Explain your reasoning.