Landing on the Patio: Landscape Ecology and the Architecture of Identity in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-25-2014


landscape, identity, architecture, literature


This essay offers a critical reading of Alison Bechdel's graphic narrative Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic through the lens of landscape ecology in order to challenge traditional/historical notions of porch and patio in American literature, architecture, and design. The language of landscape ecology provides a host of spatially-oriented terms, such as migration, edge, and matrix, from which to process Bechdel's text. Through landscape ecology, as well as related forays into queer theory and comics studies, this essay illustrates how Bechdel upsets long-established conceptions of the porch as a space of heterosexual courtship and familial bonding, by allowing her family members to migrate to the patio, a space in which prohibited activities and behaviors, such as same-sex attraction and affection, artistry, and familial bonding, may development and flourish.