PURPOSE OF THIS ASSIGNMENT
As with most of the assignments in this class, this one has more than one purpose. I want you to consider the differences in telling a familiar story in graphic form, but I also want you to work in some of the theory we have read about affordances and the rhetorical differences that occur when the purely print narrative develops a visual dimension. Robert Frost said once that poetry is "what gets lost in translation." Is that true of the graphic genre? This will give you the chance to work as a literary critic in an entirely new mode, which should produce some exciting results.
WHAT TO DO
Choose a graphic presentation of a familiar work of literature. I've got several you can choose from, including three separate graphic representations of Macbeth; Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, and even The Book of Genesis have recently received graphic treatments. You can find a number of these in public libraries, or at your local Borders, Books-a-Million, or Barnes and Noble. There are some graphic novelists who have adapted traditional literary works; for instance, in the various Sandman novels, Neil Gaiman adapts several of Shakespeare's plays (in Dream Country and The Wake), classical myths (in Fables and Reflections), and the frame narrative for the Canterbury Tales (in World's End); any one of these might well be a good target. The onus is on you to find an interesting text to work with; this will engage your research skills as well. There is nothing stopping several of you from working on the same text; that might, in fact, open up some possibilities for scholarly collaboration, so talk among yourselves.
Since you'll be comparing and contrasting, you'll need to find a reputable scholarly edition of the source text to use to cite from. Raid your English major's bookshelves!
In an essay of about 1500 words (or more if you need them), analyze and evaluate the rhetorical differences you find in between the original print narrative and its graphic presentation. You will probably want to present this as a print document, but I suspect you'll want to insert graphic elements of your own--perhaps screen captures or scans of pages from the graphic novel, or side-by-side analyses of dialogue, etc. If you choose a different form of presentation, that's fine, too; just let me know what you're planning.
Use the theory we have been reading about the rhetorical differences of traditional and new media to strengthen and deepen your analysis; and go beyond the original readings to find more expert witnesses to back up your conclusions. I expect these documents to be scholarly in nature, even though they may be very "un-scholarly" in presentation. That means they should have a significant Works Cited element; if you choose to present in a non-traditional essay form (for instance, as Anne Francis Wysocki did), you'll need to find a way to document your source use appropriately.
Post your analysis, in whatever form you choose, and announce its publication with a message to the Ning site before noon on Tuesday November 24 so that people have a chance to at least "surf" your page before class time. (Earlier announcements will of course be gratefully welcomed!) If you want to make a .pdf file of your analysis and don't have the resources to do so, give me a hard copy of your analysis before that time and I'll run it through the document scanner for you.