In Bechdel’s tragicomic Fun Home, the use of indirect voice is often employed through the artifice. In her use of text, Bechdel addresses the reader as a confidant and a casual friend. The reader is immediately ushered into her clever demeanor through the use of imagery, and narration. For example, take the top right hand panel on page 13, 2007 edition. Bechdel relates that her “…dad considered us extensions of his own body, like precision robot arms”, her second use of narration in the same panel continues “…it was like being raised not by Jimmy but by Martha Steward”. Not often do robots and Martha Stewart find themselves in the same line of thought, needless to say, this narrative illustration- as such that the mind’s eye is given imagery of a robot being raised by Martha Stewart- appears as yet another level to the story. This motif is repeated again and again, an appeal to our own knowledge as the method of constructing the scene and setting for the novel – pg.15 : “I was a Spartan to my father’s Athenian” ,“Modern to his Victorian”, etc.
Many of the artifices used in Bechdel’s book call forth text, such as newspapers, dictionary definitions, letters, books, her diary. There is a sense of the cataloguing of life through the scrapbooking of text; the use of text outside of the narrating voice also allows for a change in prose. After having seen her interviews however, it makes me wonder whether these snapshots of text are actually verbatim- I would not be surprised if they were. Regardless the use of such an artifice does two things for the reader, first we are let into the privacy of an intimate script such as a letter between lovers or the diary of a young girl, second we are forced to recognize the distance and strangeness between Bechdel and her father/family/self. As such we are introduced to the actual act of her father’s death through a newspaper heading, “Local Man Dies After Being Hit By Truck” page 27. This factual and removed choice in script is disarming. As the audience we are led to understand a very complex relationship, perhaps in this use of different tones we are led to grasp the subtleties of influence, understanding, and misunderstanding exuding from Bechdel relationship with her father.