Drawing From the Margins: Truth, Fiction, and Power in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Marisa Acocella Marchetto's Cancer Vixen

Hanlon, Lindsey
Women authors, autobiographies, and graphic novels are all marginalized in literary circles. Yet Alison Bechdel and Marisa Acocella Marchetto both work in the form of autobiographical graphic novels. I undertook this study in order to understand why marginalized women authors would choose to work in a genre and medium that are marginalized in their own right. I argue that Bechdel and Marchetto choose autobiographical graphic novels because they allows them to take control of their own narratives and representations. Through the use of autobiographical graphic novels, Bechdel and Marchetto control multiple aspects of their narratives, both words and images. By telling her own story in her own words and images, Bechdel can blend reality and fantasy however she chooses. Bechdel avoids the objectification of others by presenting her own interpretation of her image, and is ab le to tell a coming out narrative without confining herself to a single identity. Marchetto uses the autobiographical graphic novel to confront social traditions that both marginalize the unhealthy and sexualize the sufferers of breast cancer. The graphic form allows her to represent both her physical reality and her mental and emotional states, and to contrast social superficiality with her own experiences.
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