Denotations and Connotations

This week we were asked to locate and discuss how a controversial/complex ‘text’ operates as a sign in terms of its denotation and connotation. I found an interesting article called “Two state colleges could lose funding over controversial topic” (Stevens, 2014), this article looks at a controversial book choice recommended to freshmen by the College of Charleston and USC Upstate. This book is called “Fun home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel and contains elements of homosexuality, this book in particular is a source of controversy at the College of Charleston (Stevens, 2014).

For the purpose of staying within the word limit I will be writing in a more basic form from here on out than what I normally would, here we go!

Signifier/Denotation: The book “Fun home: A Family Tragicomic” in this situation is the signifier/denotation.


Homosexuality: The book itself contains elements of homosexuality and prompts discussions about the life of a homosexual and their personal preferences.

Homophobia: Legislators are punishing the colleges recommending this book to their students by cutting funding because they believe that students are being forced to read it when they are not. Actions speak louder than words and this action is loaded with disgust for LGBT content thus proving the presence of homophobia in this action.

LGBT Rights: This book sparks debate of LGBT rights regarding same-sex marriage, equal treatment and even rights to published content that displays homosexual content.

Government Interference: This issue with the colleges brings attention to micromanagement of educational establishments and educatory content by the American government forcing their morals onto others.

The book “Fun home: A Family Tragicomic” operates as a sign by facilitating discussion about real world issues that are relevant today.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you will be back in the future!

Stevens, S., 2014. Two state colleges could lose funding over controversial topic. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 19 February 2014].


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