Fun Home post

So I was personally handed fun home by my gay brother during my senior year of high school when my family was finally getting it though there heads that I was definitely bisexual, as I had been saying since I was 13. No, I’m not bitter at all. But for me it was really interesting to read about this girl who kinda figured out who she was without the label at a relatively young age, with an older male figure who was gay in her family. Obviously the relationship was really, really different, however, I did enjoy coming across this on our reading list during my second semester in college. I felt really connected to Alison when that happened, as I knew that I was going to get to explore gay culture as I never had been able to before, both in a literary sense and in an actually experiencing slices of life that were off limits as an underage high schooler.

So do you feel connected to Alison in a similar fashion at all?

If you are LGBT, when did you know? How did your family react in the context of Fun Home? Did you have anyone to look up to or to connect with when you did identify yourself?

Nevada Post-Renee

So I’m really curious as to why it’s ok for Maria to so openly assume a persons gender. If it were someone who wasn’t trans it seems like a large portion of the LGBT community would get really pissed off. Maybe Binnie was trying to call out this backwards way of functioning in the community, or maybe she herself is slightly problematic. I have been wondering a lot lately about who we consider problematic, and why we rarely look at those in out own community. I know the group of incoming freshmen that identified as LGBT+ became divided over an issue like this. Some of the members were talking about how they liked specific races, then when they were called out for being racist, they said it was just a preference.

So why do we seem to be ok with discrimination and problematic people if they’re in our group? Do we think that problematic behavior is excused when the person it’s originating from is also a minority in some way?

performative sex & third person tones

I think that the portrayal of sex in Nevada is particularly interesting because the belabored dutiful sex scene between heterosexuals is kind of turned on its head. Instead of the typical stereotype of the woman simply giving into what the man wants and faking her pleasure it seems that in this scene it’s performative on both ends. I think it’s also funny because typically in the seems that we’ve seen in other novels such as in Stone Butch Blues the perspective of the heterosexual woman is dutiful sex that doesn’t culminate in her pleasure but only the mans- this is demonstrated when Annie describes all of her sexual encounters with men as rushed and unsatisfying. Annie is even embarrassed when she says that she wants to come before being fucked. This mentality typically is associated in queer are novels exclusively with heterosexuals. It’s kind of funny how in Nevada, the same mentality is exhibited, but it’s exhibited in a scene she is supposed to be more intense/engaging. I also really enjoyed the way that the novel was written in an almost third-person stream of consciousness, if that’s even possible.

I think that sex as performative is a prominent theme as well. It seems that often the characters either use sex as a means to an end or a way of self expression rather than an inherently valuable thing: “She was like, cool, punk rock, degradation, kinky sex, how queer and great.” Though Maria did not even derive pleasure necessarily, the circumstance of the sex is what she was proud of.

I also really liked the voice of the narrator (probably because the author is so cool). “It’s herself she’s sad about. Mopey ol’ lonely Maria, the little kid with the bags under her eyes, the lonesome romantic bike fucker, the girl who likes books better than people. It’s an easy automatic go-to to characterize things as boring but it is boring to have the same exact things come up whenever anything comes up: poor me. If she were a goth she’d tell you about how broken she is, but since she’s an indie-punk diy book snob, like, here we are.” Another thing I really appreciated was the tone of the writing. I thought it was pretty relatable because again the third person narrative is able to glimpse into Maria’s mind. There’s also an element of humor to the tone.

Nevada’s Open Ending

So… James ditches Maria, and that’s it? THAT’S IT?

While Nevada’s open-ended ending is frustrating to readers, I think it serves to facilitate and address the novel’s larger theme of solutions giving rise to other challenges. Let’s try to remove ourselves from our frustration and try to think about why our story ended without a resolution from Maria. The narrative of our story illustrates the challenges, insecurities, and frustrations experienced by Maria post-transition. Many trans narratives take place during the character’s discovery of the desire to become another sex or another gender, and concludes on the philosophical internalizations of making this change and how it is to effect the rest of their life. With Maria, we see are invited into the post-transition life. Sure, things have resolved for Maria. Ultimately, however, as a woman, she still describes having a disconnected relationship with her body, and goes as far as to fake an orgasm with her partner. In addition, we follow her through the consequences of her self destructive decisions only to finalize: a trip to Nevada and a bunch of drugs will fix everything. We see that it doesn’t. I think this anti-climactic ending supports the over arching theme that one solution gives rise to other challenges that need a solution. Maria made the transition from man-to-woman. That didn’t solve everything for her. If it had, there wouldn’t be a book to write about in the first place. The ending poses to suggest that her journey to Nevada poses as a temporary solution to the larger issues she must address within herself. Just as her transition into a woman didn’t solve all of her problems, but granted temporary relief and self satisfaction for the time begin until those deep rooted insecurities surfaced, once again, to sabotage her relationships, her job, and her self-perceptions.

How do you think Maria’s narrative pre-tansition would compare to her post-transition narrative? Do you think she would have similar struggles, or would they be much more intense?

How does the third-person narrative dictate your assessment of Maria’s characterization. Did it change how you felt about her? Could you analyze her more closely? Or did the third-person narrative draw you further from her as a character?

My Final Project

Hey y’all,

I’m really going to miss this class. I have never enjoyed a class this much, so I’m glad I got to experience it with all of you! I thought I’d post my final project which is just one spoken words poem and a love song. I’m really proud of this song, I spent way too much time writing it, but probably not enough time actually recording it (oh well, sorry for the weird balance issues with the parts).

Final Project

Song Recording