I found many different visual patterns throughout “The Ideal Husband”. The settings of each frame of the chapter repeat themselves frequently. There are many frames that take place on the porch, many frames that are simply writing or text on a page, and many frames that take place in the kitchen. There are also several patterns of individual objects. The mother wears a headband in most of the frames that she is in. The mother, the father, and Alison all smoke throughout the chapter, and body and facial hair is shown on many men throughout the chapter.
There are also many patterns in the narrative. The father faces legal charges at the same time Nixon is being impeached, Alison receives her period and the locust emerge from the larva, and the idea of the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” and the fathers interest in young boys.
One pattern that I have noticed in the sixth chapter (“Ideal Husband”) of Fun Home is change. There are several changes in terms of history, plot and characters that occurs within the chapter. For example, picking up the seventeen year locust represents the change of the insect from a larva to an adult. This was especially interesting as it corresponded with Alison going through puberty, when usually insects have a much faster life cycle. To add onto this, Alison getting a period is a turning point in her life in which she is moving towards being an adult from a kid. Other than this, Alison’s dad going to the psychiatrist and president Nixon’s impeachment are other examples of significant changes that occurs in this chapter.
Throughout this chapter, many major events take place, all contributing to the idea that perhaps life is becoming much more real for Alison. There are numerous instances in Alison’s immediate life as well as the life of those around her where they must face the truth and by the end of the chapter, they do. There are three very clear examples: Alison’s Father seeing a psychiatrist, Nixon’s impeachment, and Alison getting her period. Alison’s Father is a little reluctant to let his family know that he is seeing a psychiatrist at the beginning. Alison even calls these meeting a ‘secret’. But, as the chapter progresses, Alison refers to “the sessions” (Bechdel, 184) very easily and like a normal part of life. Alison’s Father and her entire family face the truth and acknowledge that this is just another part of their life. Another interesting cycle where Alison must learn to face the truth is when she gets her period. Originally, she kind of brushes it off and decides that she doesn’t have to tell her mother about her period for a while. But, by the end of the chapter, Alison does get the confidence to talk to her mother about what happened. Although her mother doesn’t seem to care that much, Alison’s secret does come to light and Alison is able to face the truth which is a very big breakthrough. Lastly, Nixon’s impeachment process begins. At the beginning of the chapter this is just an idea but when we are nearing the end of the chapter, Nixon “threw in the towel” (Bechdel, 181). He realized that if he wanted to leave office without the reputation of being impeached, he had to resign. Nixon faces the truth. These are just three of the many examples of characters facing the truth throughout this chapter.
In Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home, there seems to be some distinct patterns in her sixth chapter “An Ideal Husband.” I will only focus on the one that stands out most to me. The way Bechdel structures this chapter, whether it be chronologically close or not, was a few examples of natural events that seemed to be plaguing the Bechdel home in almost biblical proportions.
First, it began with the locusts. If my memory serves me, I remember in the Old Testament during Moses’s chapter that he said Ramses would have consequences for not freeing the slaves, and it seemed weird to me that these temporal cicadas came and attacked the perimeter of Alison’s home.
The second almost supernatural phenomenon Bechdel mentions is the catastrophic storm that is unleashed one summer. Nothing inside their home was really touched, but the outside was destroyed. What became even stranger was the fact that the rest of the neighborhood did not get any damage, or even any effects of the storm, for that matter.
The way Bechdel presents it sounds like the forces of nature are punishing the Bechdel family for some reason, and I thought that was an interesting pattern she thought to bring up.
The most important panel to me is the third panel on page 147. This is the panel that Marji’s parents tell her that they are sending her to Austria for school. This marks a complete change in Marji’s life. She no longer will be dealing with violence and a country at war. However, she will have new hardships such as not knowing the language, being along, and being a foreigner. Marji realizes that she will never live with her parents again.
The decision to send Marji to Austria came when Marji challenged her teacher on how many political prisoners were being held. Marji’s parents became afraid that if Marji stayed she would eventually be raped and murdered for being so outspoken against the Islamic regime.
The bottom panel in page 153 depicts a scene where Marjane is looking through the window at their parents in great distress. This panel stuck out to me the most because it was the scene where it shows the true depiction of her parents’ distress. This was especially emphasized as the previous few panels showed Marjane’s parents as normal, almost whimsical, to cheer up and assure their daughter whose about to leave Iran. It must have been especially as Marjane always looked up to their powerful person and always looks up to, and her view on her parents crumbles to see their parents absolutely devastated. It was also the climax of the reading, which shows the changing point of the plot, i.e. from Iran to Austria.
I believe the most important panel is the final panel of “The Dowry”. The scene shows the despair and sadness of Marjane’s mother and father as Marjane looks at them through an airport window. This scene is extremely important because it signifies a very pivotal in the story. The reader of the visual novel as this point realizes a start of a daunting and new future of Marjane. The panel evokes a lot of pathos with dark shadows cast over Marjane’s father’s eyes as well as her mother’s limp figure. What particularly struck me the most about the illustration is the figure of Marjane pressed up with her hands against the window. The window acts as if to represent a barrier that traps Marjane from being with her parents and her home, Iran.
In my opinion, the most important panel from today’s reading is the second one on page 151. While looking at her own reflection in the mirror, Marji is saying to herself, “I will always be true to myself.” She is already aware that she has to go to Austria, and what she says is the last piece of advice that her grandmother gave to her, as well as her father afterwards, before she left off. She has done what she believes was right such as calling out her religion teacher on teaching them lies. The fact that the “be true to yourself” was repeated may have been done purposefully. The moment she tells herself that encapsulates the moment since her life is about to have a drastic change so they must all make sure she must never forget who she is.
In my opinion, the most important panel from last night’s reading is the last one on page 143. In it, Marji is shown as having just punched the principal. In response, the principal screams “Satrapi, you’re expelled!” Because of this incident, Marji’s life takes a sudden turn. She can no longer stay in her school, and nowhere nearby seems willing to take her. In fact, her actions cause her to leave the country, away from her family, friends, and people. A great change in her way of life and thinking is bound to occur in Austria.
The most important panel from today’s reading is the 8th panel on page 152. As Marji is saying goodbye to her parents at the airport, her father tells her, “You’ve got to go now. Don’t forget who you are and where you came from.” This panel marks a turning point in the plot of the book. I believe the book will begin to focus on Marji’s personal struggle to stay true to herself as she leaves her home for a foreign place. In the days leading up to her departure for Austria, she is repeatedly told that throughout her experiences, she must always remember who she is and where she is from. This panel also shows a moment of weakness for her parents. The panel depicts Marji’s father crying as well as a defeated look on her mother’s face. They may never be together again and we can see the drastic affect Marji’s departure will have on her parents.