Discovering one’s sexuality includes a number of different struggles, especially during the adolescent period. Such issues include reflecting on the attraction to the opposite and the same sex, making peace with who you are, and, of course, coming out of the closet to family and friends. Fun Home and Call Me by Your Name are two stories that brilliantly portray the experience of young teenagers who are still exploring their sexuality and trying to make sense of it with the help of their parents.
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A Fun Home is a novel that reflects on the main character’s and her father’s perception of their homosexuality. It is full of mysteries at first since the relationship between the daughter and the parent is cold; nevertheless, later in the book, the reader finds out that both share a common secret. However, while Alison is confident in her sexuality, her father is married to a woman and does not express his own desires. As the author states, “my homosexuality was a hypothesis so thorough and so convincing I saw no reason not to share it immediately” (Bechdel 58). Throughout the book, Alison tries to interpret her father’s behavior and perception of his sexuality in relation to her own.
Call Me by Your Name deals with depicting the relationship between a child and a parent in a different way. While the story is mostly romantic, it briefly touches upon the process of acceptance of homosexuality. The main character’s father says that he will be “a terrible father if, one day, you’d want to speak to me and felt the door was shut” (Aciman 282). This topic is relevant since parental responses to coming out are crucial to the mental well-being of a child (Baiocco et al. 1499). Unlike the father in Fun Home, this father accepts his son; moreover, he is open to a conversation with him because he wants to help him during these uncertain years.
In conclusion, it would appear that while both stories depict the experience of exploring sexuality in connection with relationships with parents, the authors portray it differently. The way a parent deals with his son’s homosexuality seems more productive in Call Me by Your Name because he is supportive and honest. On the other hand, in Fun Home a father is discrete about the topic up until his death.
Aciman, André. Call Me by Your Name. Rosinante & Co, 2018.
Baiocco, Roberto, et al. “Negative Parental Responses to Coming Out and Family Functioning in a Sample of Lesbian and Gay Young Adults.” Journal of Child and Family Studies, vol. 24, no. 5, 2015, pp. 1490-1500.
Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007.
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