Using Graphic Narratives to Teach Critical Visual Literacy
10 Graphic Narratives of Self and Other: American Born Chinese, Pyongyang, and Fun Home
Graphic Narratives of Self and Other: American Born Chinese, Pyongyang, and Fun Home
This chapter expands the critical visual analysis to several texts that explore the representation of self and other outside of the geographical and cultural context of the rest of the book. Though the primary focus of this book is on the way difference is constructed and represented between the so-called Orient and Occident, the Muslim world and the West, there are many interesting examples of graphic narratives that challenge the representation of multiple forms of difference that can add to our understanding of critical visual literacy.
There are many graphic narratives that explore issues of identity and difference, whether racial, ethnic, cultural, gendered, and/or sexual. One of the more acclaimed graphic narratives in the recent past is Fun Home, by Allison Bechdel (2007). This narrative follows the troubled relationship of the author with her father. The sexuality of her father and her own sexual identity form part of the narrative and represent the larger struggle to relate to each other in ways that approach a form of honest communication. The “fun home” of the title refers to the funeral home that Bechdel’s father operated, a place where she and her brothers spent quite a bit of their childhood time. Death becomes an everyday reality for the kids because of ← 183 | 184 → their father’s occupation. Bechdel’s father is not a loving figure in her memory; he...
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