Pride and Prejudice: Why I Prefer Zombies to the Original
Today is, apparently, the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. I know this not because I am among the legions of adoring Jane Austen devotees, but because I am surrounded by them. I am actually on of the rare (evidently) women who found Pride and Prejudice extremely aggravating. Why? I’m so glad you asked!
The characters are terrible. They are selfish, snobby rich people who don’t know the first thing about real life, and don’t want to. And the women seem to have only the desire to marry other selfish, snobby rich people.
Yes, Even Elizabeth Bennett, who I will readily admit has more personality and flair than the other women in the book…okay more personality than all the other characters, really only wants to settle down with an appropriately wealthy man.
I realize, of course, that these were different times, that English society at the time was the very definition of class division, that “well-bred” women were all raised to marry “well-bred” men and raise “well-bred” babies until they died in childbirth. And I realize that I’m supposed to read Elizabeth Bennett’s outspokenness as rebellion and cheer for her. Except that at the end she realizes that her outspokenness almost cost her a “perfect” marriage…
Either way, as a modern woman living in the middle class, I just can’t relate. I may never marry, and I’m not sure that I even want to. And I have never been terribly concerned with money: who’s got it, how I can get more of it. It may explain why I’m still poor and unmarried, but it also explains why Pride and Prejudice bothered the hell out of me. I like Mark Twain’s assessment of the novel better than that of just about any other person I know:
“I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin bone!”
Which brings us to the second part of my post: why I preferred Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to the original novel. Sure, it’s a bastardization of a classic work of literature turned into a commercialized zombie action novel, but…actually that’s why I like it.
But seriously, folks. At least P & P & Zombies gives Elizabeth Bennett some ass-kicking zombie apocalypse skills. Sure, she just wants to settle down with a nice rich guy, just as long as said nice rich guy is okay with her killing zombie scum when she needs to. In the zombie version, Elizabeth has a hobby! She has interests of her own, aside from who’s marrying who and why she’s not married yet. That party where she hears Darcy talking smack about her? She kicks some zombie ass right after that. Now she is a really formidable woman.
Plus, there are zombies. Did I mention that?