Alison Bechdel: Unique Use of Vantage Point

31 Jul

Alison Bechdel uses a variety of unusual vantage points in Are You My Mother? Different vantage points include from the ceiling, lower near the ground, and through the window. One reason I think she may have done this is to keep her readers enthralled, and to mimic some sort of physical action taking place. Most comics and graphic novels display frequent scene changes full of action, power, and a physically moving plot. The majority of Bechdel’s story, however, takes place in therapy, where we view two individuals talking. If each frame she created in this atmosphere had been from the same perspective, it would have become monotonous and less visually stimulating.

Another reason for Bechdel’s variation in vantage point could be to infer the emotion the character in the scene is feeling. For example, when the vantage point is from the ceiling, it may convey the character’s feelings of inferiority or inability to perform what she was expected to in life. This downward vantage point could also convey the reader “judging” the character, or it could cause the reader to empathize with the character. The entire memoir portrays her own rollercoaster of her striving to meet her mother’s expectations of her, or gaining the attention she so desperately craved. This rollercoaster Bechdel experienced can also be a reason for the fluid changes in vantage point. Her own life was incredibly unstable, just like the illustration work. She went from highs to lows to being forced to look herself in the mirror.

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