Drawings Resembling Other Art Pieces

Graphic novels are interesting because instead of creating the image inside my head, I am able to read and look what the author intended the image to be. A panel that stood out to me has to be on page 7, the most bottom one. It is an image of Alison Bechdel’s father carrying a long structure and is only wearing a pair of shorts. This image reminds me of the paintings of Jesus carrying the cross, such as this oil on linen painting by Matthew James Collins.

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Jesus Carrying the Cross, oil on linen, 2011

I do not know if I am looking into this too closely, but I see the resemblance with the panel and this painting. Both bodies are slightly slanted, carrying a large vertical structure that is also slanted, and are partially clothed. In addition, within the panel, it says “Libinal. Manic. Martyred” (Bechdel 7). The word “martyred” has a biblical connotation, which a martyr is someone who died or suffered for their beliefs. Jesus is a well-known martyr, and because the text within the panel does say “Libinal. Manic. Martyred” it hints that she saw her dad as a martyr and that he dies (I know, it happened in chapter 2).

However, the main difference between the panel of her dad carrying a big vertical support and several other paintings of Christ carrying the cross is that Christ struggles and eventually has to ask Simon for help, while her dad does not. In addition, Bechdel portrays her father as a superhuman with how he is able to carry a large structure with the most bottom panel on page 7 and the most bottom panel on page 9 where it appears like he is building the house of scratch. With Bechdel portraying him as otherworldly, it hints of how Bechdel saw her father, a giving man who was capable of doing anything, going back when how she saw him as a child.

Questions

  1. Being a graphic novel, what roles do the images play in the story-telling?
  2. Zami by Audre Lorde, the novel starts off with being centered around her mother; however in Fun Home, the beginning centers around Bechdel’s father. How does Bechdel’s dad affect the novel versus Lorde’s mother?  
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One thought on “Drawings Resembling Other Art Pieces

  1. Images in this graphic novels plays two main roles in this graphic novel. First, off they play the simplisitc role of just giving us a more vivid picture of Bechdel’s world, one that we would not be able to see as clearly through just prose. The second role that the images play is that at times they provide us with another giving us another narrative. The drawings create their own narrative by at times illustrating what is being said, and at other times even contradicting it, so in a way the pictures themselves create their own little story that at times is separate from what Bechdel might be narrating/saying in the text.

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