Fun Home Quotes: 4 Quotes From the Graphic Memoir

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you looking for Fun Home quotes that explain major ideas and themes?

These Fun Home quotes discuss Alison’s relationships with her parents, as well as major ideas in the books. In Fun Home, Alison Bechdel explores gender identity, sexual repression, being LGBT, and having a challenging relationship with her parents.

Check out these four Fun Home quotes to reflect on the book’s key concepts.

Fun Home Quotes

These four Fun Home quotes are about the major themes in the book. Alison Bechdel explores these themes throughout, and here perspective and understanding of events changes over time. Each of these Fun Home quotes has some summarized content to help you understand the quote.

“I suppose that a lifetime spent hiding one’s erotic truth could have a cumulative renunciatory effect. Sexual shame is in itself a kind of death.”

This is one of the Fun Home quotes about Alison’s father. Alison’s father was likely a closeted homosexual or bisexual man. Though he never directly expressed his sexuality to his family, Alison recognized a few behaviors that showed her father’s more feminine side throughout her childhood (such as his use of a bronzing stick). She implies that her father’s repression was a source of self-loathing and misplaced anger. She compares her father’s desire to create the image of a perfect home despite its disrepair to his desire to create the image of the perfect man despite his inner struggle. 

Her father was sensitive to failure and disorder. He punished his children at any sign of imperfection, even if they hadn’t done anything wrong. For example, he once asked the family why a vase had gotten close to the edge of the table. No one responded, so he proceeded to grab and spank Alison as she cried that she hadn’t done anything. 

“It was a vicious cycle, though. The more gratification we found in our own geniuses, the more isolated we grew.”

the house to fix. Her mother played piano and rehearsed for her productions. When she tried to interact with either of them, they would often ignore her to focus on their work. She describes her home as an artist’s colony in which each member of the family became consumed by their passion, but in isolation.

“I’d been upstaged, demoted from protagonist in my own drama to comic relief in my parents’ tragedy”

Alison’s parents almost never showed affection for one another and fighting was the norm in the household.Her father would take his anger out by destroying books and throwing things. Adding fuel to the fire, Alison’s father would bring some of his male students home, give them books, and offer them alcohol. He often focused on these boys more than he focused on his own family. In one instance, he forgot to pick up his own son from Cub Scouts because he was too busy drinking and chatting with a high school student he brought into his library. This is one of the Fun Home quotes that discusses how Alison and her brothers struggled with their parents’ marriage and their father’s behavior.

“It’s imprecise and insufficient, defining the homosexual as a person whose gender expression is at odds with his or her sex.”

An old term for homosexual was “invert.” The term implied that homosexuals behaved in a manner opposite to their natural sex. While that term isn’t an accurate description of all gay individuals, Alison noticed the accuracy of the term when describing her and her father.

Alison found herself intrigued by the female body where her father seemed disinterested. On one camping trip, Alison’s father was given a risqué calendar. He didn’t even open the photo. Alison, on the other hand, sneaked a look and immediately felt shame for being interested in what was inside.

Fun Home Quotes: 4 Quotes From the Graphic Memoir

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Fun Home summary:

  • What it's like to grow up in a funeral home
  • Why Alison Bechdel suspected her dad was a closeted homosexual
  • Why Alison believes that her father's death may have been a suicide

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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