The Illustrated Memior

Learning that Alison Bechdel took 7 years to complete her graphic memoir Fun HomeĀ was important when it came to the interpretation of the illustrations. It is reported that Bechdel spent so much time on this project because she posed for each scene, photographed herself, and then drew the scene from said photo. Because of this, the reader can infer that none of her panels where made haphazardly. In fact, they’re very accurate to the imagery Bechtel intended to convey.

Alison Bechdel is afforded more literary freedom through the use of illustration. She seamlessly jumps between time periods because with the aid of theses pictures the reader is not left wondering whats going on. It is due to the use of illustration that she is able to easily maneuver through themes such as father-daughter relationship, lgbtq+, feminism, and appearance vs reality.

On a different note, upon applying the critical lens of knowledge and power from Interdiciplinarity by Joe Moran, one could do a close reading of the power hierarchy in Bechdel’s house. A close reading of this fashion would reveal the exploitation of personal power by Alison’s father as he courts teenage boys or punishes his children for interfering with the perfection of his house.

Bechdels graphic novel is unique in its structure due to the use of illustrations. Though the use of these illustrations Bechdel almost rubs her imagery in the readers face saying “look at this, this is how I remember it looking”. And it is through these illustration that Bechdel honors the art of memoir. There is hardly a better way to memoir because with pictures it becomes a lot harder to forget how things looked tasted and felt at the time.

One thought on “The Illustrated Memior

  1. Katie Soares

    I find it sort of surreal that Bechdel would go to the trouble of posing for her own art. By photographing she gains what is considered to be one of the most accurate depictions of a person, and then sort of fictionalizes in a way by making it fit her style and narrative. Posing is this weird simulation, but the memoir with its words and frames is so honest. Just a really interesting play with the original and the artifice here.


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