In the second chapter of Fun Home, Alison describes how her father gave her clues and hints that he was facing a phase of turmoil because he was trying to express his homosexuality and intense unhappiness through simple objects and literary references. In this panel, Alison needed to read a book, The Myth of Sisyphus which her father happened to have a copy of but she rejected his offer. In the drawing, Alison is seen to have short hair and is wearing boyish clothes. Although to readers it may seem as though nothing is wrong, Alison could be seen as unfeminine and having come out in the open with her gender preference.
The book Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is actually about the Gods that had forced Sisyphus to continuously, without end role a rock to the top of a mountain, from where the stone would just fall back because of its own weight. The Gods felt that there was no punishment worse than hopeless and repetitive labour. Sisyphus was punished as he was a narcissist and believed that he was the most important person.
Bruce Allen in some sense was similar to Sisyphus as he too had to repeat his work of being an English teacher and a funeral planner, both jobs which he did against his will even though his first passion was architecture and the creative element of it. He was also a narcissist himself as he used to use a bronzer and would brush his hair to conceal his receding hairline an act to preserve his image as the ideal husband and father. Bruce Allen also showed his image by perfecting his house to the point where he ended up treating his children like furniture and his furniture like his children.
As Alison rejected the book from her father, she later realized at an older age, after Bruce Allen’s death that throughout her whole life, he was giving her hints of his sexuality and his unhappiness through literary references. He was also hinting at his lifelong depression and eventual suicide. These reoccurring events of Alison and her family ignoring her father’s hints could have been what destroyed the relationship between the entire family.
The need for political correctness works both ways – Alison wants Bruce Allen to act as a father to her and her brothers and so has politically correct expectations of her father. Similarly, Bruce Allen wants his daughter to be more feminine and so has politically correct expectations of her. Yet at the same time as individuals, their actions of being homosexual show them to be politically incorrect.
On page 28, Bruce Allen is reading a book by the French novelist, Marcel Proust who claims that “life is ruined by the shroud of familiarity that descends between us” meaning that the repetitiveness of a job can ruin the complete pleasure and excitement making it a painful chore. This is shown in Bruce Allen’s life as he is forced to repeat his daily job of being both a funeral planner and an English teacher which adds to his overall frustration and depression.
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