Is Suicide a Solution to the Absurd?

The theme of death seems to be a common reoccurrence in this book. Obviously, we have Bruce Bechdel who has died to “unknown causes”. Death is also present because the Bechdel family runs a funeral home. On my blog post, I would like to focus more so on the coincidence between Bruce Bechdel death and the book The Myth of Sisyphus

Bruce Bechdel seems to have a connection with books of all sorts. While reading this first passage, I came across the author mentioning more books and the importance of books to Bruce, for example The Myth of Sisyphus or anything by Scott Fitzgerald. The reoccurrence of books does make me link clues to Bruce’s possible suicide to notes he has written in these books. 

The Myth of Sisyphus has lead me to think that this was Bruce’s biggest way into slightly telling his family that he was planning on killing himself. One of the main points of The Myth of Sisyphus is that there is always a conflict between what we want from the universe and what we actually get from it. I think that Bruce really craves perfection from the world he lives in. We see this in examples of how he constantly wants the exterior and interior of the house to fit his personal likings. He is trying to find ways to make it just right all the time. Also, because there is a lack of emotional bonding between him and his children, I think that he once expected something so much more of what he actually gets by having children and that is why he has this lack of love with them.  I feel as though Bruce expected a life that he quite exactly didn’t receive. 

We see that Bruce’s wife tells Alison that Bruce did have homosexual relationships while in the military. This is another point that would have to relate to the idea of The Myth of Sisyphus. He wanted a loving, healthy relationship but not with a women. He got the opposite out of the universe he wish he could have. 

As stated in A Fun Home, the line that Bruce did underline was about to what extent suicide was the solution to the absurd. Bruce lived a life full of disappointment in his eyes. I think that he constantly was trying to make things work for himself but got nowhere while doing that. He believed that he lived in a life of absurd and corruptions. To end this pain, he followed exactly what he thought the book told him to, commit suicide  Yet, in the long run, The Myth of Sisyphus ends with explaining that suicide is not the right answer. 

Because Bruce has this secret of being homosexual, I think that he finds his joy and happiness through reading books about people who do find light in the darkness of times. I think he also depends on books for guidance and reassurance. I think he became part of the book. By this I mean he wanted to live through the theories in the book or the characters Scott Fitzgerald writes about. 

Therefore, I do think that the connection between Bruce and books is very tightly knit. I think he gains insight from these books. He finds answers that he knew he could never ask anyone and that makes him satisfied. But, in the long run Bruce thinks that suicide is the only answer in order to end the absurdness he was living in. So, do you think that these books were purely coincidental or do you think that these books were the guidelines that Bruce wanted to live by? Did he really depend on books as his source of reasoning?

2 thoughts on “Is Suicide a Solution to the Absurd?

  1. I think you get a bit presumptive in your second-to-last paragraph. Who is to say that he uses reading as an escape from is hindering reality? Perhaps he likes reading. In reality, it seems to me that Bechdel is making these connections about her to soothe herself more than it is true. After all, it’s her perpective that we are getting–not Bruce’s. She seems to be straining for these purposes when they may not exist at all. It is interesting to see how her comparisons to literature and their lives affect the telling of the story and whether or not it holds a true purpose by the end of the book.

  2. This response is going to sound like a cop out, but I think you’re both right. Chloe, I agree that this interpretation of Bruce’s behavior is a reach and probably an overreach from Alison’s perspective and not Bruce’s. But because it’s one of Alison’s ways of making sense of her father’s death it’s important and valid to us as readers, and it is part of the fabric of motivations for Bruce’s suicide even if inaccurate. And hcroney, thanks for doing more with The Myth of Sisyphus–it’s one of the allusions I know the least about!

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