Shakespeare is difficult, no doubt. But who doesn’t love comics?
I teach senior English in a rural community that would rather hunt and fish than read Shakespeare. (The new Bass Pro Shop created a traffic jam on the Interstate here when it opened!)
Shakespeare is timeless, but in an age when “The Simpsons” is the longest running TV show and Batman and Iron Man are the summer blockbusters, teachers must keep up with the current youth and their interests. The “graphic novel” is the younger, more sophisticated sibling of the comic book of generations past.
Not only will students read Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the graphic novel form…Elizabethan words set against art this generation will understand…but they will follow with a traditional reading of Macbeth and create their own graphic novels. We will explore the power of symbols and language and the juxtaposition between the two. Students will complete the assignment with an understanding of both art and complex literature through this unexpected genre.
Graphic novels combine words, symbols, and pictures to create a one-of-a-kind storytelling experience. With your help, I will be able to captivate many students who view William Shakespeare as “just another dead white guy” and hopefully propel them into Hamlet’s Denmark and Macbeth’s Scotland with the same enthusiasm as Bart’s Springfield, Batman’s Gotham City or even Frodo’s Middle Earth or Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. This is just the type of project that could encourage non-readers to change their philosophy on books altogether.
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