Duke Students Protest ‘Fun Home’ Erotic Graphic Novel Reading Assignment

Alison Bechdel drawing. Photo: courtesy the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Alison Bechdel drawing. Photo: courtesy the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Several members of the incoming Class of 2019 at Duke University have refused to read their summer reading assignment, Alison Bechdel‘s Fun Home, according to the Duke Chronicle.

The award-winning autobiographical graphic novel is a coming-of-age tale concerning Bechdel’s sexual awakening, as well as her complicated relationship with her father, who is hiding secrets of his own. On the Class of 2019 Facebook page, freshman Brian Grasso posted that he would not read the memoir “because of the graphic visual depictions of sexuality,” which he felt would “compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs.”

Others echoed Grasso’s sentiments.

Jude Jones, a philosophy professor at Fordham University, was highly critical of the students’ refusal to read Fun Home. “You don’t have values unless you confront their alternatives,” she wrote on Facebook.

A page from Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Photo: Alison Bechdel.

A page from Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.
Photo: Alison Bechdel.

Fun Home most recently became the subject of a protest at Crafton Hill College in Yucaipa, California, where a 20-year-old student referred to it as “pornography” and called for the book to be banned. Students at University of Utah and the College of Charleston in South Carolina have also spoken out against the graphic novel.

A Broadway musical adaptation of Fun Home recently won five Tony Awards, including for best musical, and Bechdel was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship this past year.

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