Rhetorical Analysis on Fun Home (see attached file)
Rhetorical Analysis on Fun Home
“Fun Home, A Family Tragicomic” is a widely read and accepted graphic memoir that was written exclusively by Alison Bechdel. The memoir details credible information about Alison’s key struggles from childhood with various issues. The issues that formed the center of struggle during her life include her dwindling relationship with the father, her father’s homosexuality nature and her personal sexuality (Longaker and Jeffrey 12). It also details the death of her father and how his actions influenced her social and psychological stability negatively. Similarly, the memoir touches on various topical areas that are significant socially and culturally in regard to holistic human development. It touches on lack of praise and recognition of Alison’s positive efforts by her parents, the obsessive disorder and coping mechanism including struggles with periods that remain conventionally natural processes. The memoir also depicts Alison’s journey of development from childhood including how the challenges she encountered influenced her thoughts of the family at different periods.
In the memoir, her family is depicted contrastingly given that there are those who perceive it as a typical family on the surface while it is dysfunctional underneath. The aspect portrays the imagery and visual context adopted in the memoir and how it enumerates the way people perceive things. This is evident since the memoir presents a compelling and visual story using both imagery and visual undertakings. The imagery and visual aspect of the Alison’s story and her family show how the surface-view of something or a family may not be the ideal scenario in real situation (Longaker and Jeffrey 19). It also conveys and equips individuals with basic skills on how to deal with such disheartening scenarios such as the ones Alison was facing from her childhood. For instance, how to deal with emotions and irresponsible parents who also engage in unethical practices that include homosexuality.
This paper provides comprehensive rhetorical analysis of Fun Home memoir that was written by Alison detailing its imagery and visual aspect of the story. The idea is to extract and convey a transformative message to families and children in the current generation especially by fueling the understanding that what you see on the surface may not be real underneath.
The rhetorical story
As noted, Fun Home Memoir conveys a deeper story that is characterized by complex emotions about relationship issues. It creates a clear contrast between what is read on the surface and how the relationship between Alison and her father is perceived including the reading on a meta-level. The contrasting elements are depicted from chapter one to the last section of the memoir. With particular reference and concern, chapter five depicts the contrasting relationship between Alison and her father. From the passage of the chapter, it seemed that Alison accepted her father’s contribution to the poem she was writing. It also appears that she had no problem with her father’s feedback. However, the imagery gives a different tale. She is seen busy typing out the poem when relaxed and appears to use all the ten figures to typewrite (Bechdel, 129). In the process she receives an impromptu stanza from her father.
Her expression was not cordial as portrayed as she was looking for praise from her father instead of such support. However, she was seen adding the stanza given by the father but with furiousness from anger as depicted in her expression and body language. The changes are evident to any reader as she is seen typing with one finger instead of ten as before.
The contrasting aspect is apparent as contained in chapter 5 of the story where the author noted that “she was inspired to poetry at the age of seven. At this stage “I showed my father who improvised the second stanza. I added the lines of the stanza after getting limped with imagination. (Bechdel, 129). The reality and the perception show clear differences as the text depicts that Alison accepted her father’s contribution wholeheartedly while the real surface tells some disappointment with the father.
Another contrasting view of text and imagery is depicted when Alison was at the age of 10 when she learned of her obsession to compulsive disorder (OCD) 138. From the text she discloses clearly that the symptoms were established in a baby and child care book written by Dr Spock. Likewise, she claimed that the learning of her homosexuality character or nature was through a dictionary (Bechdel, 74). This is a contradiction of reality as it is known that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD and homosexuality can only be established through social interactions, emotional reactions and medical examinations.
The reader is again presented with the story about the family conflict at home between Bruce and the wife. In the story, her father Bruce comes home and receives a discouraging reception by the mother (Bechdel 138). The mother yells at her father angrily because he had missed dinner. In the process the father brushes off by asserting “I ate hot dog.” The imagery contrasts the text that depicts the relationship between Bruce and Alison’s mother as cordial. The text focuses on their joint initiatives of proving for Alison basic needs however unsatisfactory it was.
Another contrasting element appertains to the family lifestyle and progress. In the text, the family is described as a unit in some instances. People also perceive that the family is well managed based on how Alison used to portray herself and her achievements (Bechdel 26). What was underneath is that Alison was covering her sufferings and family failures to some extent. For instance, Alison’s acceptance of the poem’s stanza on the surface made it look that she was in good terms with him yet this was not the case. She used to show anger and frustrations afterward. The irresponsive nature of the family is depicted in the imagery context where the family was seen in constant arguments over trivial issues. Bruce and the wife were fighting continually over little issues. According to Brummett (12), the hostility between the family members is equally evident by the individual’s actions. For instance, Bruce hardly made eye contact with the wife 139. He had a tensed relationship with the members of the family due to immoral character and behavior. Alison and her younger brother were also not in good terms as expected socially.
Subsequently, Allison’s father failed in offering the best parenting guidance and support to the children. He failed teach his children and inculcate good morals in them. Instead, he was one of those practicing homosexuality that is a highly immoral behavior (Brummett 23). Due to the failure of her parents, Alison relied on texts such as dictionaries for guidance. The aspect shows the emotional distance that existed between the father and Alison despite the cover up by the author. The fact about the emotional distanced is affirmed on page 139 where Alison, Bruce and Helen are pictured in Windows that are far apart or separate. This stressed the deficiency of intimate relationship that exists between the family members.
Contrasting facts about Alison’s lifestyle is apparent from how she treated the issue about her homosexuality, teenage conditions, and teenage periods. Teenage periods are regarded as normal occurrences for atypical girl however the imagery paints a different picture for Alison (Bechdel 142). Evidently, she did not view the teenage changes as normal things as she struggled to hide her pads and sanitary napkins out of reach despite the normal practice of hiding them at the back of the closet.
Indeed, the Fun Home provides a story that aids understanding on how perception differs from the reality. It also shows how families struggle with various issues that in turn affect their social and economic growth. Similarly, it creates awareness about the need for one to understand or establish the imagery and real lifestyle of individuals before drawing positive or negative conclusions. A family or an item may appear good on the surface but spoilt in the underneath as evident in the Alison’s case. Alison was not living a good life as a child should. She did not have responsible parents to offer her quality parental guidance forcing her to rely on texts. Her father was highly immoral and engaged her mother and others in conflicts. The behavior of the father made Alison hate him with a passion but she did not portray this on the surface. She only expressed certain things on the text and physical expression. For instance, she noted in the text her acceptance of the father’s contribution of stanza two of her poem but in imagery her attitude evidently changed out of anger as she never received praise that she expected.
The story contained in the memoir is relevant to our society as such family issues still confront most people. There are a lot of pretenses that all is well in our families while wide raging changes such as family conflicts, irresponsible parenthood, homosexuality, drug abuse and economic difficulties sill affect many families. Despite this, the family members normally live in denial and cover the happenings hence make them look stable on the surface.
Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic.Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2013, Print.
Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Print.
Longaker, Mark G, and Jeffrey Walker. Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers. Boston: Longman, 2011. Print.
Bechdel, Alison. Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.
Brummett, Barry. Rhetoric in Popular Culture. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, 2006. Print.
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