Reading the story of Hester Prynne and her scarlet letter is a rite of passage in high school, but that doesn’t always make it an accessible read. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale of adultery and a small New England Puritan town can be difficult for reluctant or struggling readers; even avid readers may just not connect with Hawthorne’s story on a first read. Udon Entertainment’s Manga Classics line reaches out to readers with beautiful art and emphasizes the story’s main elements, drawing in readers and, in essence, teaching them how to read the novel.
As with Udon’s manga adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the main story is faithfully intact, merely abridged for easier storytelling. This is by no means a replacement for the novel, but it serves two tremendous purposes: 1) to bring new readers to the story who may never have picked the book up before, and 2) to serve as a companion read to readers who have trouble with the novel. Manga is a popular art medium that’s been reaching beyond purely Japanese titles and finding a firm audience in American adaptations, from popular YA series like Twilight and Beautiful Creatures to classics like Les Miserables, Pride and Prejudice, and now, The Scarlet Letter.
I will be adding this book to my burgeoning manga classics collection. It would a fun display idea to feature the original and its manga adaptation side by side – I’d love to see how it affects my circulation.
THE SCARLET LETTER: MANGA CLASSICS EDITION
Writer: Nathaniel Hawthorne, adapted by Crystal Chan
Artist: SunNeko Lee
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
On-Sale: March 10, 2015
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