Bruce Bechdel and the House He Hides Behind

After reading the first three chapters in the book Fun Home I noticed something that I found quite interesting about the illustrations of Bruce Bechdel. He is never smiling in any of the illustrations of him. He has this look that makes him seem like he is constantly mad at the world. Even the picture on the front of the book backs up the fact that he is unhappy. The cover shows him sitting on what looks like a pouch with his head turned the opposite way of his child in disgust.

After finding out that he was gay, I wonder if the artist chose to draw him this way because he was miserable with the life that he chose to have. A life of not being free about who he wanted to be but instead trapped behind bars (family) he never really wanted.

Everything about Bruce Bechdel makes it seem like he was depressed about the life he was hiding behind. For example, the line of work that his family partook in was one of a depressing nature. He was constantly around the dead and people mourning over the love one’s that they had just lost. The book also describes the viewing room of the funeral home as a room that was hung with dark velvet drapery. In the book she states, “My father had been given a free hand with the interior decoration of the viewing area.” To me it sounds like he wanted to design the room to be as depressing as possible.

The old “gothic” house that he and his wife had chose to buy resembled the way that he looked at his life. Hearing the word old and gothic makes me think of dark and gloomy. He wanted to live in a house that was sad and depressed. I believe that the house is a symbol of him and his life. When he purchases the house it is old and mysterious. A house that needs repaired in more ways then one. He sets out to work on this house and fix every little thing that he can. I think this resembles his life. He is repairing the life that he chose for himself instead of the life that he so desperately wants to live. I wonder do others see his house as a symbol of his life that he is trying to repair?

Who is Brick?

As I continue to read Cat on a hot Tin Roof I have come to the conclusion, as many others have, that Brick is gay. Although this is never explicitly stated it is implied in different context of the story line. The first distinct clue is pointed out through his drinking. As a reader we find out that he began his drinking problem after the death of Skipper. However, because it is never stated that Brick is gay it is hard to know whether he truly was gay or just in an intimate and loving relationship with Skipper.

 

There relationship almost reminds me of the movie Broke Back Mountain and how one of the males really did not state that he was gay but rather was just in love with the other man. This is how I interpreted Brick’s relationship with Skipper. I believe that it is hard to say if he really was gay or just that Skipper was the only person he ultimately loved.

 

However, I do find Brick’s name to be very ironic to the way he carries himself throughout the story. When I think of the name Brick I think of someone strong and masculine. However, Brick is broken. He is overwhelmed with the feelings that he has lost a friendship that he can never regain. He does the opposite of what I think of when I hear his name and he breaks down. He uses his drinking to hide his feelings. He doesn’t face the fact that Skipper isn’t coming back so if he keeps drinking perhaps he just wont remember him anymore. Brick is no longer strong and masculine but has become weak and afraid. 

Love, Lust and the Enchanted Hunter

After reading more into Part II of the book, I have begun to notice a pattern of love vs. lust for Humbert. I found two definitions that I believe could help define the love vs. lust that is taking place throughout the story. The definition of love that I found stated, “A decision to commit oneself to another and to work through conflicts instead of giving up.”  I think that love is prevalent throughout the story between Humbert and Lolita, he seems to care for Lolita a lot and does not want her to leave his side. The same goes for Lolita at the beginning of the book. However, I do not think that Lolita’s love is quite the same as Humbert’s. Lolita’s love seems to be more of a love that is a childish crush.  However, as Lolita begins to grow older that “love crush” turns into a more father daughter relationship. This becomes more prevalent as she matures with age and acts out; Lolita becomes quite rebellious as many teens are to their parents.

Challenging Humbert’s love for Lolita is his lust; the definition I found for lust stated, “Any intense desire or craving for gratification; when contrasted with love, lust usually means sexual desire.” This fits Humbert because he craves and desires young girls or in his words “nymphets”.  He desires that look of young girls like Lolita, and I think this challenges his love for her. The question then arises: Is Humbert really in love with Lolita or does he just have that craving and desire of lust?

As Lolita gets older, the love vs. lust begins to turn into paranoia, and the lust turns into the thought or idea of what Lolita use to be. He gets so paranoid that she is going to leave him. A big part of this has to do with her age, as I stated before. She is becoming a teen and stepping away from what he refers to the “girl-child” age range.

A second thing I want to bring up is the hotel that Humbert and Lolita first stay at “The Enchanted Hunter”; to me this describes Humbert in the second half of the book. He becomes the enchanted hunter, and Lolita is his prey that he will do anything to find and keep her close to him. After Lolita leaves Humbert, he is constantly going back and trying to “hunt” her down. I’m curious to what other people think about this? Because as we know he will “kill” anyone who takes her from him. 

Passing – Part II

After reading the first two parts of Passing and the short articles I wanted to discuss the term of passing. I came across a definition which states, “a place where or a means by which one can pass.” I believe that this definition fits within the story lines of the book. This leads me to my next point I am curious to know what others think about the statement that Irene says to Huge in the second part of the book. The statement says, “It’s easy for a Negro to ‘pass’ for white. But I don’t think it would be so simple for a white person to ‘pass’ for coloured.” After reading this statement it really got me thinking. How is it that people may ‘pass’ as white but not black? Perhaps it is because people of a lighter skin color can be hard to determine where it is that they are from. I think it could also be due to “white” people not thinking of someone’s lineage when they are with others of a lighter skin color.

Continuing to read the Part II of Passing I have began to notice more of a sexual tension that Irene has for Clare. I first really noticed this in chapter two of the second part. When Clare comes to Irene’s home it states, “Looking at the women before her, Irene Redfield had a sudden inexplicable onrush of affectionate feeling.” I think that throughout this section it shows how Irene has an attraction to Clare whether she realizes it or not. I do not believe it is jealousy that she is feeling over Clare’s beauty, but rather a sexual attraction to Clare’s beauty. The second part of this story drops multiple clues to this observation. This is all done through the way that Irene describes Clare. Personally, I think that this is more of a way that someone describes a person that they have a crush on rather then just a “girlfriend”.

When I first began reading I felt sympathy for Irene, but as I have continued to read I feel more sympathy for Clare. This has to do with the fact that she is constantly lying throughout her daily life. She has to lie to almost everyone about who she truly is. As we have read I think that she finds joy and comfort when she is with Irene. Irene does not hide who she is, and I think this is something that Clare wishes she could do, deep down. And when she is with Irene she gets to fulfill this part that she is missing in her life. I am excited to continue reading and see what everyone else’s thinks about the book!