Pick a song from Fun Home and categorize what “type” the song it is in your opinion using the song types in the lectures.

Pick a song from Fun Home and categorize what “type” the song it is in your opinion using the song types in the lectures.

We have talked about the structure of musicals, the structure of songs, and how and why songs serve the structure of a musical in several lectures now. Please answer 1 and 2 a. and b.

1. Pick a song from Fun Home and categorize what “type” the song it is in your opinion using the song types in the lectures. Why did you choose that type? Does this song further the plot, character, or both? Why and how? ( lectures from this and previous modules should be used as your supporting citations as well as the Musical.)

2. (answer both)

a. How did Bechdel’s relationship with her father change as she became an adult and a self-identified lesbian?

b. Appearances are important to the Bechdel family, even though they do not often reflect reality. What are some exam­ples from the story in which appearance and reality did not match, and how do these examples illustrate the tensions among the members of the Bechdel family?

  • Complete thoughts and opinions
  • Support those thoughts and opinions with the text
  • BOLD any citations and the page number
    • If you read it – Ask a wolf’s Mother ( page 107)
    • If you watched it – Ask a wolf’s Mother ( Act 2, The Witch 1:47) Act, Character, Time
    • You should have not less than 3 quotes. Please balance quotes with your opinion and analysis. For further explanation of what I expect please revisit Examples of Analysis and Citations for Essay Questions
  • Grammatically correct
  • Spelling
  • No less than 600 words

Thank you! and the two discussions that need responses/feedbacks are below:

1. “Days and Days” is a song sung by Bruce’s wife Helen. Before this song, we didn’t know a lot about Helen. I would describe this song as an “I am” song. I feel that it shows a lot about Helen and deepens our understanding of her as a character. The song takes us through Helen’s mind and her thoughts on the whole situation. Like the lecture said, songs in musicals such as this one, “speak about them or their situation or their wants, needs, desires” (Lecture). I feel this song shows how Helen is always putting up a smile and trying her best in life even if she is falling apart on the inside. The line that makes me think this is “Like chaos never happens if it’s never seen” (64). I think this line is very powerful. She is trying to live a life that doesn’t exist. She wants everything to be perfect but it’s not. So she acts like everything is okay when it really isn’t. She’s trying to have a perfect family and pretend like her Husband’s gayness doesn’t exist. Maybe she is afraid of what people might think or maybe she still very much loves Bruce and wants everything to go back to how it was before. She is singing this towards her daughter Allison. At the end of her song she sings, “I didn’t raise you to give your days away like me” (64). In this line she is telling Allison to not make the same mistake she did. Not to waste her days unhappy and not living the life she wants. To not let herself become trapped in a fake reality such as the one Helen is living.

I would say Allison’s relationship with her father didn’t change a ton in that I don’t think Bruce treated her any different. Allison seems nervous to come out. However this is expected. In the words of Benjamin Walker, “it’s this angry, pubescent time where things are complicated and frustrating and frightening, and dangerous” (Rise Up). However after Allison came out she learned a lot about her father including that he was also gay. In some ways, the two became closer with that connection they now shared. They were now able to connect on a deeper level. Bruce however was not able to embrace his sexuality like Allison did. He still seems to be ashamed about who he really is and continues to hide it. He then kills himself because of it. So I can’t really tell if Bruce was excited for Allison or not. Although Allison gained a lot of new information about her father after coming out, I don’t think a ton had changed about their specific relationship. Maybe just a new mindset towards each other.

The Bechdel family looks very perfect on the outside. This is shown within the song “Welcome To Our House On Maple Avenue.” Some of the lyrics that show this are “see how we polish and we shine” (15) and “everything is balanced and serene” (15). These lyrics show an ideal flawless family. While they may be broken on the inside, they won’t let anyone else see that. Throughout the musical, we see what it is really like inside the Bechdel family. Bruce is gay and married to his wife Helen. While Bruce is having affairs with men or even younger boys, Helen is absolutely crushed inside. But from a neighbors point of view they are a lovely family with no problems. There was definitely tension between Helen, Bruce, and Allison. Helen was stuck with Bruce and Bruce was stuck with Helen meaning they wouldn’t separate because of what their peers may think. This could also be for their children’s sake as well. Helen learned to live with the fact that Bruce would cheat on her. When Allison found out, she was shocked and began to realize that her childhood was a lie. She didn’t have the parents she knew back then. Overall, the Bechdel family portrayed a perfectly flawless front on the outside yet they were not as perfect as everyone thought they were.

2. The song “Telephone Wire” is an example of an 11 o’clock number as it plays a significant role as both Bechdel and Bruce realize how similar they are and that they never truly bonded. “It speaks […] about their desires specifically. The song is a window into [Bruce and Alison’s] feelings” (Week 5 Lecture 1). It is intensely emotional as she breaks the boundaries of time. Older Alison gets into the car with him instead of medium Alison for one last conversation with her already dead father. Alison is focusing on her surroundings to avoid the conversation she craves with her father during the car ride. She tells herself to break the silence and say anything because she wants to connect with him on what she knows will be their final car ride together. Bruce becomes lost in his old memories and reflects on his experiences with a boy named Norris Jones, and Alison recalls that she has always felt the same way as him. However, Bruce begins fearing talking about his sexuality with his daughter–he cannot accept himself and changes the topic to his latest project despite Alison wanting him to continue speaking about his past. The telephone wire seems to be a metaphor for the message Alison was trying to communicate but couldn’t get across. It is a significant moment during which she realizes that even with hindsight, she couldn’t have known that Bruce would commit suicide in the subsequent days or months. The song begins with Alison trying to piece together her memories as she hopes that she misremembers her past. It ends with Alison knowing that her father never bonded over their sexualities as she sings out after he begins talking about his new project, “This is where it has to happen! / There must be some other chances / There’s a moment I’m forgetting / Where you tell me you see me” (Kron 70). But there never is another moment, and shortly after Bruce dies. She learns that his death wasn’t her fault as she at least tried to help him while Bruce was too lost to realize this help, making it a devastating moment for both characters.

Even as Bechdel becomes an adult, her relationship with her father changes but not significantly–they grow closer over the years but never become close enough. She remembers that as a young girl, her fun with her siblings would be signaled to an end as soon as Bruce returned as his sometimes violent moods caused tension in the Fun Home. As a teenager, she was reluctant to bond with her father until she became his student, and they found common ground among literature novels. Even during her college years, she attempts to connect with her father about being gay, but they continuously struggle to express themselves. And yet, Bechdel seems to gain sympathy for Bruce and his affairs once she becomes aware of her sexuality. She comes to understand why her father acted the way he did, as it was not always evident to her that Bruce was gay. She had considered whether her coming out had caused her father’s death but soon learns that that wasn’t the case–he kills himself because he can’t accept his sexuality. But, I also think that Bruce became desensitized to death as corpses always surrounded him. He frequently questions himself, asking, “What’s the matter / Why am I still standing here” (Kron 72), and yet he doesn’t move or seem to fear death. Bechdel also resented her father when she was younger, but with time, they can connect on a different level as she learns that they had many of the same desires. They both tried to deny their feelings for people of the same gender, but they always knew that they weren’t straight as Bruce sings, “For them it was a game they outgrew / But I always knew,” and Bechdel replies with, “I really tried to deny my feelings for girls / But I was like you / Dad, me too” (Kron 69). But even then, Bruce returns to talking about his construction work, and it is the last time they speak about their sexualities before his death. And I think that part of this was because there has been a “historical antipathy towards gays and lesbians” (Jones 18) and Bruce feared people’s opinions of him as he was essentially pretending to be a good Christian man behind the Fun Home doors. Although he still sends her enthusiastic letters, (older) Alison is still left wishing that he would’ve recognized that she was trying to connect with him based on their sexualities.

The Bechdel Funeral Home is an ornate, Victorian-style home–but its outside appearance is not an accurate representation of what their family life entails. It was built on Bruce’s secrets and lies due to his hidden sexuality and string of affairs. He escapes reality by showing off their funeral home–he thinks that if he is perceived as a good family man taking care of his beautiful estate, he can avoid the fact that his entire life has been a lie. Alison is shocked when she becomes aware of this, and although she ultimately faces reality and accepts that she is a lesbian, Bruce cannot do so. She doesn’t even come to know whether he was bisexual or gay, whether his death was a suicide or not and why he did it, which causes further pain in her life. Searching for answers, Alison understands her life compared to fictional situations to attempt to become aware of the possibilities of reality and build an understanding of her father through some of the songs. Bruce also escapes reality through reading the novels he gives to Alison. They all involve gay characters which seems to hint at Bruce’s sexuality before she is aware that he is gay but also causes tensions with Alison and Joan as they ponder over what his attitudes about them are. In contrast, Helen uses fiction to escape the reality that her husband no longer or never did truly love her. She plays the piano, using music to distract herself from the fact that Bruce is seducing the man he hired to do yard work, rather than face reality and do something to address it. She also seems to be acting in the role of a happy wife to a wealthy man–she recognizes that her life has been shattered as a result of Bruce’s affairs but continues to sing, “Welcome to our house on Maple Avenue […] / Everything is balanced and serene / Like chaos happens if it’s never seen” (Kron 64). She ignores her and Bruce’s arguments that have resulted from his affairs and instead acts like the psychiatrist will fix all of his problems–which ended up not being the case.

You can also use those two posts for reference on how to make the discussion post. Thank you again! Let me know if my instructions were confusing please. 1 discussion post and 2 discussion post responses/feedback

Requirements: see above

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