The Use of Unique Art Style and Language in Fun Home, Maus and Persepolis

Though sometimes overlooked as an art form, and overshadowed by other forms of art such as film, visual arts, and traditional written literature, the combination of language and visual expression that is intrinsic to graphic novels allows for unique ways to express feelings, arguments, and histories that may not be possible using more traditional forms of literature. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Allison Bechdel’s “Fun Home”, Art Spiegelman’s “Maus”, and Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”, in which each author’s unique art style and use of language allows them, despite being completely unrelated, to convey the same universal argument: that people’s perceptions and relationships, as components of their identities, are defined by their losses.

The authors of these works achieve this uniformity of their argument through the diversity of their works. Bechdel’s art in several panels reveals details about her father that only became apparent after his suicide and subsequent disclosure of various facets of his life that were hidden during Bechdel’s childhood, as well as Bechdel’s perception of her father in hindsight with these newly discovered aspects of his person.

Spiegelman’s characterization of his father, both through language and illustration, show the emotional burden that he carries as a result of his wife’s suicide, and the emotionally unfulfilling stopgap measures he has taken to fill the void left in his life by Anja’s departure, including marrying a woman he does not love. Satrapi’s expressionistic style of illustration, at times comparable to visual hyperboles, display her changed attitudes towards existence and religion after the murder of her uncle Anoosh.

Throughout “Fun Home”, Bechdel’s illustrations are pervaded by a bluish-gray haze. While this color creates a gloomy tone throughout the work, it is not until page seventeen that Bechdel reveals her father’s double identity as a pedophile who preyed on young boys. This revelation, while shocking, immediately begins to explain Bechdel’s choice to illustrate “Fun Home” as she did. Because of the nature of her father’s secret life, depicted through Bechdel’s contrast between black and white when his shadow does not line up with his own position and movements in a panel on page ten, he is forced to maintain a façade that causes him great emotional distress, establishing a cold and distant relationship with his family, with his own children being unable to express affection towards him, and using home improvement and fashion outlets for expression that he is unable to perform in any other manner.

Furthermore, Bechdel never portrays her father expressing joy or any semblance thereof. Not once throughout “Fun Home” does Bechdel illustrate her father smiling, laughing, or expressing happiness, regardless of whether he is with his family or partaking in one of his personal leisure activities.

On page 11, he is even shown ready to physically strike one of Bechdel’s brothers for failing to set up a Christmas tree to his liking. Later, it is revealed that Bechdel’s father committed suicide when she was twenty years old, with details about his sexual perversions surfacing later after his death. Because of the nature of his death, suicide caused by intense emotional distress, and the subsequent unearthing of facts surrounding her father’s actions, this loss plays a crucial role in shaping Bechdel’s perceptions of her father, as evidenced by the all-encompassing blue-gray fog throughout her illustrations and her negative depictions of her father, combined with the fact that the story is almost exclusively narrated in the past tense.

These perceptions, however, would not have been shaped without the loss of her father that led to the discovery of the facts about him, reinforcing Bechdel’s argument regarding human loss as a catalyst in defining people’s perceptions of others and their actions and shaping their own identities.

Similar to how the death of Bechdel’s father shaped her own perceptions about him, loss can also be a significant factor in defining people’s relationships with one another. This is clearly illustrated in Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” by the unfulfilling marriage that Vladek, Art’s father, enters to fill the void left in his life by Anja, his former wife and the one he truly loves.

Throughout “Maus”, Vladek’s interactions with Mala, his current wife, are strained, with conversations between the two regularly escalating into arguments, such as on page 104, where even Spiegelman’s somewhat inexpressive mouse faces he uses to depict Mala and Vladek show signs of displeasure when arguing with each other. In Vladek’s flashbacks to his experiences in the holocaust, he makes it abundantly clear how much he loved Anja, hiding with her during the holocaust, providing support for her when emotionally distraught, and bringing her placebos to try and help alleviate her hunger from the food shortages caused by the Nazis.

Following Anja’s suicide, Mala serves to try to fill the void Vladek feels has been created by Anja’s departure. Because Vladek does not truly love Mala, and never truly stopped loving Anja, his relationship with his new wife is not a fruitful one, with Mala even making Vladek withhold money from Art, rewrite his will, and wanting only money from Vladek, causing Vladek to break down in tears on page 127. Because the loss of Anja in his life, Vladek was forced to enter into an unhappy marriage to try to seek some form of solace, unsuccessfully.

This reshaping of Vladek’s relationships with others, shown by his dialogue with Mala and flashbacks of his days with Anja, as well as growing closer to Art after sharing details of his experiences and love for Anja during the Holocaust, as well as exposing Art to the unhappy, ugly reality of his current marriage, reinforces Spiegelman’s argument, that people’s losses are integral in shaping, for better or worse, how they interact with others and form new relationships that are vital parts of their identities, supporting the common argument shared by all three authors, that losses define people’s identities.

Perhaps the clearest example of losses shaping the identity of one of these authors is in Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”. Following the murder of young Marji’s uncle Anoosh, someone who truly made her feel special, by the Islamist militants fighting for control in Iran at the time, Marji renounces her faith, and feels lost in a sea of feelings without any sort of “bearing” to tell her what is right and what is wrong. On page 70, Marji literally yells at a manifestation of God that appears to try to comfort her, saying that she “never wants to see [Him] again”.

This is followed by an illustration of Marji floating in space, surrounded by stars and planets as someone yells to her to take cover from the impending bombs and explosions. These expressionistic illustrations serve as visual hyperboles, as God did not literally come into Marji’s room, and Marji did not literally float in outer space, they serve as clear indicators of the drastic shift in attitude that Marji experiences towards her religion, followed by the wandering sense of loneliness and lack of moral direction following her rejection of her faith, caused by her anger at God for failing to prevent Anoosh’s death. Because these events were brought about by Anoosh’s death, and caused such a drastic change in Marji as a person, these panels help reinforce the common argument that Satrapi shares with Bechdel and Spiegelman: that our losses are critical in shaping our identities.

Bechdel’s use of color and portrayal of her father, Spiegelman’s characterization of his father, and Satrapi’s use of expressionism, all serve to argue a common point shared by all three authors. All three of these authors, through various methods in the medium of graphic novels, illustrate that people’s losses serve to shape their identities by affecting their attitudes, perceptions of others and their actions, and ability to form new, meaningful relationships with others following a loss.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Criminal Justice
This has been the greatest help while I am recovering from an illness. Thank your team so much.
Customer 452671, May 2nd, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Customer 452773, February 23rd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Customer 452773, February 23rd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
always perfect work and always completed early
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work and effort. Made a 96 out of 125 points Lacked information from the rubic
Customer 452773, October 27th, 2023
Leadership Studies
excellent job
Customer 452773, August 26th, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, June 25th, 2023
Business Studies
Thank you very much for a good job done and a quick turn around time.
Customer 452615, March 31st, 2021
Social Work and Human Services
Great work I would love to continue working with this writer thought out the 11 week course.
Customer 452667, May 30th, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
Customer 452773, June 25th, 2023
excellent job made a 93
Customer 452773, March 22nd, 2023
I just need some minor alterations. Thanks.
Customer 452547, February 10th, 2021
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp