After reading the first chapters of Fun Home, I have a new aspect of character I would want added to the list. If a way into character can be a character’s relationship with other characters, then I think it would be fair to add a character’s relationship with fiction, with art, with creative consumption. How do characters relate, use and re-shape the art they consume and how does it motivate their character?
Invisible Man, the novel, is scattered with jazz, hollywood, and pop culture from the main character. In Crying Lot, Oedipa reflects back to the time with Pierce in Mexico City when they see a surrealist art exhibit, and she can describe one of the paintings with such detail. Insisting that Driblette’s play has meaning, she becomes fueled by her desire to know fully what Tristero is- the mystery that propels the last half of the novel.
Using “text” to refer to all forms of cultural production- from celebrities, films, books, pamphlets, etc…-, texts within these works of literature seem to act as points of departure, description, or even delusion for the characters.
I’m focused on the intertextuality of character as both an understanding of how they understand themselves and also an understanding of how they understand/create other characters and their surroundings. I was captivated by how Bechdel writes her father through the works and life of Scott Fitzgerald (pg 62-67), her mother through the plot of a Henry James novel (70-73). The graphic novel gives us various aspects of her father: the handyman, the mortician, the disciplinarian. However, the protagonist of the novel creates this narrative of her father where she maps Scott Fitzgerald on to it so tightly that even their lifespans were exact-off by only 3 days. She experiences her father, or reads her father, as a text that can only be made clear or familiar to her by using Scott Fitzgerald as the referent. Her reliance on text, particularly literature, to become aware of her self and fill in other characters reveals how a character-though text- can use texts within the fictional world/narrative to stabilize their own existence/purpose in the (graphic) novel/fictional narrative.