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Spaces of Expression and Repression in Post-Millennial North-American Literature and Visual Culture

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Edited By Izabella Kimak and Julia Nikiel

The essays included in this book offer an overview of literary works, films, TV series, and computer games, which reflect current social and political developments since the beginning of this century. The contributions intend to x-ray the most crucial aspects of contemporary North-American literature and culture. Addressing a variety of media, the authors of the essays probe the many ways in which repression and expression are the primary keywords for understanding contemporary American life and culture.

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Expressing the Uncertainty, Reflecting Memory: The Role of Memorabilia in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home (Aleksandra Kamińska)

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Aleksandra Kamińska

Expressing the Uncertainty, Reflecting Memory: The Role of Memorabilia in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home

Abstract: In her graphic memoir Fun Home Alison Bechdel draws numerous documents from her and her father’s past. In the article, I analyze the role of these memorabilia and argue that Bechdel’s unique narration is a tool that enables her to make the story similar to actual memories.

Keywords: memoir, graphic novel, memory

Just by browsing Alison Bechdel’s memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) it can be noticed that the graphic novel is full of copied documents – photographs, letters and maps. On one of the pages a young girl carefully studies a drawing from The Addams Family; on another the author’s hand is holding an enlarged photograph. These memorabilia are not scanned, but meticulously copied by Bechdel, re-drawn from original images. In Bechdel’s memoir, detailed presentation of memorabilia adds a new dimension to the story and serves as a specific form of self-expression. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is Alison Bechdel’s coming of age and coming out autobiography, and at the same time a memoir of Bruce, her closeted gay father, who may have committed suicide. Bechdel’s graphic novel is full of doubts, but the author’s uncertainty leads only to a more careful analysis of the past.

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