Exploring the Theme of Intertext within Fun Home

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Fairclough (45) defined Intertextuality in literature as a way of shaping a work of art using other texts from different sources. These Intertextuality figures include quotation, allusion, calque, translation, parody, and pastiche. As a literary device, Intertextuality creates interrelationship between texts and generates an understanding of separate literary works. Therefore, these inferences make the reader understand the in-depth of the story. Fun Home written by Bechdal is a graphic work of art that narrates the story of two birds trying to fly using their unique ways. The author used many intertexts to describe her ways of life in the novel. She used these intertext literary devices to create comic in the reader. Therefore, the essay will present the use of nine intertexts within the book Fun Home by Alison Bechdal.

Intertextuality in Fun Home functions as a way of illustrating activities that are gendered in the society. These activities are not through the procreation of sexual attributes but societal relationships. For example, in the Daedalus and Icarus myth, a non-religious version of the biblical descent of Grace is presented in the play. The first scene presents an allusion to the father balancing his daughter on his foot playing the Icarian games (Bechdel 3). For instance, _x0091_as he launched me, my full weight would fall on the pivot point between his feet and my stomach_x0092_.

Bechdel used intertextuality to complicate the relationship between past and present. She used the same myth and the same text to look at the different human relations from the different point of views to illustrate how myths and change of identity are contemplated from a historical perspective. For example, Bechdel returns from the Icarus games by putting the six contagious pieces that describe the making of Daedalus myth. _x0091_In the Circus game acrobats where one person on the floor is balancing on another are called Icarus games_x0092_ (Bechdel 12). These intertextual Icarus games not only serve to frame different themes but also different historical perspectives that illustrate how sexual identity acts as a cultural conflict. Various connections between literal figures, father_x0092_s allusion, and the authors experience are conveyed to create a real identity (Bechdel 12).

Bechdel used pictures and drawings of her father and a representation of Redford acting Jake Gatsby in The Great Gatsby Alteration. This intertext was used to emphasize the idea that her father appeared like Gatsby (Bechdel 64). Bechdel says that _x0091_my father even looked like Gatsby Orat any rate like Robert in 1974 movies._x0092_ she added that _x0091_Gatsby_x0092_s self-willed metamorphosis from farm boy to a prince is in many ways identical to my father_x0092_s_x0092_ Like Gatsby, my father fueled this transformation with his illusions._x0092_ Therefore, this photograph makes the readers understand the comparison the author intended to present in the play about her father.

Furthermore, Bechdel compares her father_x0092_s way of life with that of Scott Fitzgerald_x0092_s, an evolving tragedy, she even tried to estimate the time they spent alive. For example, she notes that _x0091_Fitzgerald lived three days longer than her father. However, they lived the same number of months, and the same number of weeks_x0092_ (Bechdel 85). She speculates that her father had prepared and timed his death.

As a reader goes through the text, he comes across handwritten letters, diaries that were rewritten, documents, maps, as well as traditional figures. For instance, the drawing of her father_x0092_s reference to Christ carrying his cross is further strengthened by the intertext _x0091_It was his passion . . . martyred_x0092_. In this case, the word passion represents her father_x0092_s affection architectural reinstallation, along with his homosexual craving and Jesus passion-story. Besides, the author combines other text that makes the play depend on these interwoven texts.

In the play, Bechdel conveys herself as _x0091_a Spartan to her father_x0092_s Athenian, Contemporary to his achievement, Masculine to his Nelly and Functional to his aesthetician_x0092_ (Bechdel 15). These expressions were put between spaces panels presenting different scene where the author and her father appear to be in conflict or disagreement. In the second section, _x0091_Bechdel is flipping a paper into a cheery face wastebasket_x0092_. This image can be described as an ionic representation that represents happiness in the play. It also depicts the things that upset her father, creating a mess and obtaining a piece of furniture that does not fit his area of interest (Bechdel 3). Finally, it illustrates the mood of melancholy in the play.

The author used Addams Family as an intext within the play, whereby, she mentioned the odd and morbidity in the Alison_x0092_s narrative and portrayed artistically in the play. For example, as a child the author found herself puzzling Addams cartoons in his books (Bechdel 34). She illustrated that these captions eluded her just the way the ironic problem of residential conformity puzzled her from her family. She reproduced these cartons using her artistic creativity. Therefore, this instance of a carton within another carton provides a reader with a comprehensive view of the author_x0092_s main idea. Additionally, she redraws one of her ancient pictures wearing black clothes, and she appears to be in mourning just like that Addams Family representation of Wednesday the daughter of Addams.

Another important intertext is a view of Sesame Street on TV _x0091_Bechdel is watching TV with her brothers_x0092_ (Bechdel 14). This intertextuality makes the artist discover the concept of sexuality because when she went to school, she started discovering her identity as a woman and believed that she was a lesbian. The concept of sexuality motivated her search, and she began reading literature about homosexuality. She then decided to change her identity to differentiate herself from her parents (Bechdel 108).

Additionally, Bechdel used It is a Wonderful Life film as an intertext in the play. For example, Bruce is displayed as having an irritable time as one of Alison_x0092_s brothers is assisting their father prepare a Christmas tree as the film plays in the background. His father got annoyed because he could not hold the tree upright. During this time, in the act where _x0091_Jimmy Stewart comes home one night and starts yelling at everyone_x0092_ is shown (Bechdel 11). The dialog of Bechdel_x0092_s father imitates that of Jimmy, who yells at people who are innocent and do not deserve his anger as well as frustration.

Finally, every chapter of the play has a title that is derived from Modernist fiction. The play is a tale of loss in objective reality because what the author knew about her parents was destroyed in the fun house mirrors as she grew, and literature became her way of discovering her identity.


Bechdel used her individual experience to examine her father_x0092_s homosexuality and his suicide. The rapport between the author and her father is categorized by gender problems presented using Bechdel_x0092_s fictional reversals of mythologies and epitomes. She used different intertextual devices to motivate the reader to embark on a literary journey with her. She also used herself and her characters to illustrate her sexual experience.

The artist designed intertextual literary devices to make the reader understand the theme of sexual orientation crafted in the tragic play. Whereby, she used these devices to make the readers understand how she discovered her sexual identity.

Through intertext devices, the reader understands the theme of tragic death in the play. The author discussed her father_x0092_s death in relation to Camus Albert novel A Happy Death and The Myth of Sisyphus essay. Additionally, these intertexts used by the author demonstrate how comics are emotive in new ways and reveals some of the techniques used to involve readers in a dynamic and thought-provoking ways.

Finally, Fun Home explores the problematic situations that affect a family and its effect on the author. She used allusion, pictures, and the visual allusion like television productions into her fictions to develop the theme of intertext.

_x000c_Works Cited

Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. First Mariner Books, 2007. Print

Fairclough, Norman. Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. New York:

Routledge, 2003. Print.

July 29, 2022




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