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The Ordinary Devoted Mother

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In “The Ordinary Devoted Mother” Bechdel’s creation process in writing is very much unique. The reason being is because in the story, the order she goes about gathering information and creating imagery is detailed in a way that grabs the reader’s attention. Bechdel sees this process as being informal and somewhat therapeutic. Her form of writing comes from the experiences she’s encountered and with every experience it’s being incorporated in her style of writing. The train of thought that Bechdel goes through is very sporadic, but organized. In this story Bechdel has a way of putting the little pieces together in order to create the bigger picture. For instance, Bechdel analyzes the pictures of her when she was an infant, trying to understand the logic from then to now and how her mother became less affectionate. She even goes in to detail when explaining why she wanted to find out and also what she wanted the outcome to be.

Bechdel’s take on writing is to the point but detailed. In this story Bechdel takes us back to when she was younger and her writing in her journal, with her mother critiquing her penmanship and her sentence structure. That allusion gave us the knowledge that we needed to understand as to why her relationship with her mother is somewhat strained. There is no avoiding the fact that the comic is greatly moralistic and in many ways almost a case study of her life and relationships. The repeated citations of Woolf and “To the Lighthouse” offer comparisons between the novel and the comic. The most obvious one relates to the revealing of her mother’s aspirations and depression, which created a sense of abandonment when she stops kissing her at the age of seven. This tension is reiterated throughout the comic both directly and indirectly.

The development of this story is definitely logical but the overall effect, with its chronological jumps and uncertainties, relatively blurred. I think that overall this story which is one of many invites us into a fraction of Bechdel’s life. Which lets us know that in Bechdel’s life it’s impossible to reconcile with the rest of her feelings. Which leads to the conclusion that her writing process and how she forms her comics will be somewhat projected the same as her reading. I theorize that the way she contemplates her wordings is the way she writes.

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