Fun Home

Fun Home Metaphors and Similes

Robot Arms (Simile)

"...and of course, my brothers and I were free labor. Dad considered us extensions of his own body, like precision robot arms" (13). 

By using this simile, Bechdel reveals how her father did not listen to her and her siblings or take their needs into account; he often saw them as inanimate objects that he could control. 

Bishop (Simile)

"Having little practice with the gesture [of kissing her father goodnight], all I managed was to grab his hand and buss the knuckles slightly as if he were a bishop or an elegant lady, before rushing from the room in embarassment" (19). 

Bechdel uses this simile to shows she had to tread lightly around her father because of his mood swings and violent outbursts; she felt as though he was a figurehead meant to be respected as opposed to a parent to whom she could openly express her affection. 

Beech Creek (Metaphor)

Bechdel uses the creek from which Beech Creek takes its name as a metaphor for her father's homosexuality, which he attempted to hide behind a polished exterior. She writes that the creek appeared "crystal clear" (128), but this was only because of pollution from the adjacent strip mines. 

Traveler (Simile)

"But like a traveler in a foreign country who runs into someone from home-- someone they've never spoken to but know by sight-- I recognized [the truck-driving bulldyke] with a surge of joy" (118-119). 

Bechdel recalls the time when her father took her on a business trip to Philadelphia and she saw a woman dressed in men's clothing for the first time. In this moment, both young Alison and her father realize that she wants to look like that woman. By comparing herself to a traveler, Bechdel alludes to the fact that she is more open to exploring her identity than her father, who refuses to acknowledge any kinship with this gender-bending stranger. 

Summer Storm (Metaphor)

One summer, a sudden summer storm hits Beech Creek. Despite the storm's fury, it does not do any damage to the Bechdels' home - it just fells the trees around it. "In this light," Bechdel writes, "the ring of downed trees conveys a theme less of destruction than of narrow escape" (179). She uses the storm as a metaphor for Bruce Bechdel's brushes with the law, and in a broader context, for the way her father's secret whipped up chaos around the family. However, she acknowledges that despite these struggles, the family did avoid complete destruction, likely because they were well versed in how to weather a storm.