Using a Graphic Novel in an Early Brit Lit Survey

tempest-graphic-novel-quick-text-jon-haward-paperback-cover-artThis year (both in the spring and this semester) I adopted a graphic novel version of The Tempest, with the original text but with American spellings, for our play reading. (The book is available from Amazon.)

I have often found it difficult to follow a play in written form and, honestly, they weren’t written to be read that way. Since I don’t have time to show a whole play during a class period, I don’t usually do that either. And since I am not in a large city, with a play happening somewhere regularly, I can’t assign the students to attend a play either.

I think that the graphic novel is a good “transition” reading.

This is what some students who were happy with the reading (even if they found the language difficult) said:

A graphic novel makes it easy to understand. I think that if I was reading just the play without the pictures it would have been very hard to understand.

Reading The Tempest with the pictures made the story easier to understand.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the comic book. I have never sat down to read a comic book before so this was a great experience. It helped me understand the story because I could visualize it better.

The version with comic book pictures made the reading simpler.

I loved the fact that there were pictures to look at. The pictures made it easier to understand. Usually when I am reading Shakespeare’s plays I am just reading the words and not understanding what is going on. This time I could understand what was happening…. Even though it was kind of embarrassing to read in the library because everyone thought I was being a nerd reading a comic book, I am glad we got to read this version.

Having the students read the original text (with Americanized spelling) was a good choice. I think that the graphic novel helped make it even better.

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