Friday, March 06, 2009

Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel by Charlotte Bronte

I really detest the idea of graphic novels. True, I read the “Classic Comics” series when I was younger, but even at that age I sensed something was missing. They inevitably led me to seek out the full text version of those great works – Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Huckleberry Finn, and so forth. So, I guess I owe a debt of gratitude to those forerunners of the graphic novel, but I know many students who read only these watered-down, thin, and poor excuses for great literature.

One important example will suffice. In chapter eleven, Jane arrives at the inn of Millcote, a few miles from Thornfield Hall on the first leg of her adventure. Imagine a 16-year old girl – alone and away from all and everyone she knew for the first time. She was terrified. At the inn, no one met her, and she sat alone bearing the leers and sneers of men and women as they saw her sitting alone. She questioned the wisdom of leaving Lowood, and she feared for her future. This chapter examines in depth, Jane’s mental state after the terrible years spent at Lowood.

This graphic novel treats this important moment like this: “I was collected from the George Inn at Millcote by a plain servant in a plain carriage. Thornfield was a short six miles away” (39). I will admit that this passage has a few more words than the treatment rendered by the Cliff’s Notes version. Not for me!

The mediocre illustrations frequently do not match the emotions conveyed by the text. For example, Bessie, the kindly servant who tried to help Jane at Gateshead Hall, looks like a raving maniac in some of the panels. Never again! 1 star for sometimes mildly interesting artwork

--Chiron, 3/6/09

No comments: