Tag: Physiognomy

Image in the novel

The medium by which Fun HomeĀ is told is a strange one. It is a self entitled comic, or “tragicomic” on the front cover, and the back cover refers to it as a “graphic memoir”. There are certain elements of the story that change when presented as images with sparse text captions than the bricks of text that typically compose a novel. Some things are gained by adding visuals, for example Bechdel could describe her father’s indifferent and cavalier attitude towards the cadavers, which she does mention, but with the cartoons she can demonstrate how his face and body language is no different expression over a dead body than he does with his family. She could spend chapters upon chapters, if it were written as a text , to describe things: like the house can be represented in a single panel which would’ve taken pages upon pages of writing to get all the specific details of her dad’s excessive collective and restorative efforts, However things are also lost by transferring over to this visual relationship, such as the concept of movement and physical senses besides sight. It’s much harder to express dialogue but easier to demonstrate non verbal cues. I think one important aspect of character then, would be the physical form in which it was created

Blindness and Anger

The buildup to the Brother’s story about sacrificing his eye is present throughout Chapter 22, culminating in the narrator’s proclamation starting on page 475 “he doesn’t see me. He doesn’t even see me. Am I about to strangle him? […] See! Discipline is sacrifice. Yes and blindness. Yes. And me sitting here while he tries to intimidate me. That’s it, with his goddam blind glass eye”. But before the eye or the notion of not being physically seen is even mentioned in the chapter, the narration is constantly littered with referenced to sight. They have “penetrating eyes” “eyes that were meant to reveal nothing” “eyes narrow” with suspicion and during the sarcastic rant Brother Jack “rubs his eyes”. The various characters language focuses on seeing or not seeing the crowd, and looking at each other’s reactions such as seeing Tobitt enjoy himself with the cigarette, but one recurring way they refer to sight is in knowledge and anger. Phrases like “there you see”, “didn’t you see” “now see here” etc., refer to understanding and knowledge, not literal sight, and they are frequently uttered when the characters are angry. The moments where they have more emotional, angry outbursts are filled with references to sight until the actual sight story is mentioned. The speech about not being able to physically see the narrator when they can’t see his point of view, and ending the argument and chapter with “I looked into his eye. So he knows how I feel. Which eye is really the blind one?” all pointed refer to these themes that were brought up in the prologue. It seems as though commenting on not seeing the other’s perspective is not enough to spark these feelings of invisibility in the narrator, they also always accompany scenes with anger, and the response isn’t just angry but violent. Here he thinks about strangling the brother and in the prologue he actually does strangle someone. Wherever there seems to be feelings of anger or violence, more emphasis is placed on “sight”