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The Comics of Alison BechdelFrom the Outside In$
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Janine Utell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496825773

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496825773.001.0001

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Decolonizing Rural Space In Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home

Decolonizing Rural Space In Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home

(p.167) Decolonizing Rural Space In Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home
The Comics of Alison Bechdel

Katie Hogan

University Press of Mississippi

Although not done deliberately, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home intervenes in rural queer studies by showing how geography, sexuality, and gender are vital to understanding the complexities of rural queer lives. Based on Bechdel’s experiences growing up in Beech Creek in the 1960s and 70s, Fun Home unwittingly resonates with the aims of rural queer studies by exploring, among other things, complex queer attachments to rural place—with a particular focus on the author’s father, Bruce Bechdel. Bruce was raised on a dairy farm, where he had his first same-sex experience with a farmhand. When he became an adult, his non-normative sexual activity was an open secret, until his arrest for providing an alcoholic beverage to a minor, the younger brother of one of his upper-class high school students. Bruce’s arrest threatens his reputation, livelihood, marriage, and family in an unprecedented way, and Alison Bechdel believes it drove him to suicide. Because Bruce is white, male, and college educated, and belongs to a family with a long history in Beech Creek, he escapes prison and is instead ordered to begin sessions with a psychiatrist for his “disorder.” Contrary to the impression given of Bruce in Fun Home scholarship, and even in Fun Home itself, in many ways life in Beech Creek suits him.

Keywords:   Rural, Queer, Fun Home, Place, Alison Bechdel

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