Fun Home connections

For this class-substitute exercise, I simply want us to make some connections across texts.  So follow one of these options:

A) If you were not part of the discussion on Monday that talked about Gloria Anzaldúa’s excerpt, leave a short comment here pointing to something that struck you about her essay.  Then, come to class Thursday ready to make a connection to Fun Home. 

B) If you are not going to attend class Thursday to talk about José Muñoz’s excerpt in class, leave a short comment here pointing to something that struck you about his essay.  Then, make a connection to Fun Home.  How do you see his work about futurity at play in our novel?

C) If you participate in both Monday and Thursday’s classes, no need to leave a comment 🙂

5 thoughts on “Fun Home connections”

  1. I found it interesting that Anzaldua is writing about why you should write and the importance and yet she adds the tidbit about how she puts off writing, that it’s not natural for her. Whenever someone who is great at their work says it doesn’t come naturally to them, that it is difficult I feel like the person on the receiving end thinks, then there is no hope for me a “normal” person. But she also has a call of action to write because she finds it so important, powerful, and revealing. I wonder if it’s her intent to be relatable to prove that we the readers can write and fulfill her call to action.

  2. Something I noticed about both Fun Home and Anzaldúa’s essay is the form of each text and how it relates to the content. Anzaldúa is very clear that her essay is a letter to other women writers of color, and discusses her struggles to find the right form for what she wants to say:
    “It is not easy writing this letter. It began as a poem, a long poem. I tried to turn it into an essay but the result was wooden, cold. I have not yet unlearned the esoteric bullshit and pseudo-intellectualizing that school brainwashed into my writing. How to begin again. How to approximate the intimacy and immediacy I want. What form? A letter, of course” (165).
    She goes on to talk about the ‘rules’ of writing that she’s been taught: “Bow down to the sacred bull, form. Put frames and metaframes around the writing. Achieve distance in order to win the coveted title “literary writer” or “professional writer.” Above all do not be simple, direct, or immediate” (167). Anzaldúa’s letter breaks away from these ‘rules’ that white male academia taught her. She is direct, to the point, and unapologetically blunt in the way she talks about her experience and the experiences of other women of color within the literary world, and the letter has an extremely personal tone.
    Likewise, Fun Home also takes an unusual form to talk about personal experiences. It is not a purely textual, distant autobiography; instead, Bechdal uses illustrations to emphasize (or sometimes replace) her writing. Neither Anzaldúa’s letter or Bechdal’s novel follows the ‘rule’ of “do not be simple, direct, nor immediate,” but they each take the opposite approach and dive into personal and troubling topics without the distance a traditional essay or novel could afford.

  3. Most interesting to me was Anzaldúa’s thought that the woman of colour is invisible in high literary circles; the dangers of racialized experience cannot be transcended but the survival within it has to be performed over and over again. Because of that they are not obstacles, but hazards, dangers. Coherence in canon and language and literature is a gift afforded to the empires of culture: every other voice cannot coalesce, cannot shout. Bechdel’s father and his little connectors of meaning, his illusion of grandeur carefully crafted brick by brick from the lines of a page are afforded to him because the books are written for him. It’s not so much uncanny that he noticed the connections; Camus’ Sisyphus was a white man, Meursault killed an Arab. The realization of both his vigorous aspiration to the heterosexual white man in his public persona and his voyeuristic, criminal, destructive aspiration to his queer truth were afforded to him through “required reading.” There is little analogue to the “Great,” universal American Novels from which Bruce and Alison Bechdel drew meaning when the languages of the third world, the coloured world are not considered universal.

  4. Something that stuck out to me about José Muñoz’s excerpt was in the very beginning when he said, “Queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing.” I was left wondering what exactly was meant by this because, out of all the ways to describe queerness, a description such as this wouldn’t have come to my mind. However, upon looking more into this statement, I started to make the connection that the “missing” feeling could be related to a feeling of nonconformity (in a queer individual) to the worlds heteronormative expectations. This thought led me to make a connection with Fun Home with how Allison feels. She seems to express an inner conflict that consists of her unknown identity. I think that Allison finds it troubling when she is realizing her sexuality; not only because she feels like she doesn’t quite fit in, but also that she doesn’t want to be like her father. This uncertainty expressed makes her feel like something is missing.

  5. I found Anzaldúa’s letter extremely moving and it prompted me to recenter my understanding of white privilege. I love how she incorporated poems and quotes from other writers, as well as one of her own journal entries, which I think made the letter more personal. One qoute that struck me was one of her reasons for writing: “By writing I put order to the world, give it a handle so that I can grasp it”. I found this especially applicable to my experience with studying literature, queer studies, and some of my own writing. I’m exploring and working toward academic goals, but I’m also trying to make sense of everything, fashion my own handle on reality. Anzaldúa also critiques long held traditions in white academia and actively breaks “rules” in her letter, making space for intimacy, personal experience, and identity in a space that was built to exclude her. This gave me a new perspective on the exploration I have enjoyed.

Leave a Reply