Manga Classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (Author) Crystan S. Chan (Adaptor) SunNeko Lee (Artist
As a child, Jane Eyre was mistreated by her relations and sent away to Lowood Institution where her constant companions were isolation and disengagement. After turning 18, Jane decides to make her own way in the world and acquires a position at Thornfield Hall as a governess.
Shortly after, Jane meets the master of the house, Mr. Edward Rochester, and a strange feeling overcomes her.
Could this be love?
Yet the world is a harsh place with dark secrets, social boundaries, and hesitant hearts.
...can love defy the odds?
The 21st century is a present period that perpetually bustles along a high-speed highway leading to the future. Due to this, the past, which is filled with struggles, great social divisions, and lack of ‘modern’ conveniences, becomes a very un-relatable place. To an extent, our society has alienated itself from the past’s customs and practices that are oftentimes described in works by Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austin.
Brontë writes this novel through Jane’s rational, steady minded, disengaged demeanor, so reading the original works can at times bring up comments such as “Why do they do that?” or “I would have told him/her…!”
The original novel is filled with long passages and descriptions and the team at Udon Manga Classics is able to transport Brontë into the modern age through understandable terminology. Throughout the manga’s visual narrative, readers are constantly engaged with the happenings in Jane’s life.
This Manga Classic edition of Jane Eyre really explores and amplifies the theme of boundaries that, in turn, convey how Jane is alienated from her world. The Reed family belittles her due to her impoverishment, her employment causes her to have a low place in society, and pursuing love with someone of a different class is seen as an impossible dream. Artist SunNeko Lee does an incredible job illustrating the growing romantic affections developing between Jane and Mr. Rochester and how there was a great invisible boundary between them: society.
Lee portrays the dominance of society in a number of ways such as the largess of Thronefield Hall and the bleakness of Lowood Institution. However, Lee aptly established how these large and imposing places are subject of internal decay with dark secrets behind the doors. Hence, readers are able to, not only feel the weight of societal and class oppression, but really emphasize with Jane and her circumstances that bind her to her station.
From an artistic perspective alone, this work is an absolute treasure that belongs on your bookshelf.
I loved reading the original book followed by Manga Classic: Jane Eyre that elevates classic literature to another level. The manga not only enables readers to connect with the past, but also conveys the gist of the story through visual narratives and translates the dialogue into understandable text for the modern age. The illustrations heighten the characters inner-emotions through their facial expression to the point where readers start to see the characters as individuals rather than constructs of fiction and literature.
Thank you for reading!
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