The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Novel gets new look

3 min read

Jane Austen’s classic tale, “Pride and Prejudice,” is a frequent visitor of high school and college reading lists.

Publishing company Quirk Classics recently commissioned Grahame-Smith to resurrect Jane Austen’s classic love story with a twist.

The comical author was given the task of dissecting the classic and turning it into a novel students would actually want to read. The result is “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

Grahame-Smith keeps most of the main plot of the story intact, along with the characters and much of the dialogue.

A full 85 percent of the book is Austen’s original work.

Grahame-Smith’s addition of zombies, ninjas, and unladylike fighting scenes throughout the novel changes the tale.

He inserts these extras in a very methodical and clever way.

The story begins with the Bennet family: Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, and their five daughters, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine and Lydia.

The daughters, trained by a Shaolin master in China, are experienced in the deadly arts. They carry daggers at their ankles and are skilled with both musket and katana.

Of the five daughters, the two eldest, Jane and Elizabeth, are the most experienced in the deadly arts. Headstrong Elizabeth is the feisty heroine and the most deadly of them all.

Throughout the story, Mrs. Bennet is very much the same as in the original version; she is not skilled or interested in anything but trying to obtain a husband for each of her daughters.

In the end, her efforts are rewarded. Three of her five daughters get married, which is the same result as in the original novel.

Proud Mr. Darcy is just the same as the original character, except for the small detail of his being an extremely skilled zombie killer.

His disdain for Elizabeth slowly changes to respect as he watches her skill with katana and musket. When he proposes to her, a fight ensues as she tells him of the many reasons she would not marry him.

Just like the original, he writes her a letter, which makes her change her feelings toward him.
Afterwards, he helps her family in certain ways and she falls in love with him.

Though the updated novel keeps to the original plot in many of the main details, Grahame-Smith does add some extras that were not in the first story.

These include a character catching the “strange plague” and turning into a zombie and battle sequences that take place where characters were before only having a argument.

Other extras include the changing of sport and card games to more zombie related activities and the constant fear of the undead coming to ruin every ball, walk and carriage ride.

Quirk Classics, provoked by the popularity of this book, intends to make a prequel to this story, “Dawn of the Dreadfuls” which is scheduled for release in March 2010.

A movie is also in the works and is scheduled to come out in 2011. Quirk Classics also intends to make more books similar to “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” one of which has already come out, titled, “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.”

Though more amusing and exciting than the original “Pride and Prejudice,” this new version still keeps the themes that make the original so popular among teachers.

Themes such as gender roles, class, society, pride, prejudice, marriage, and family are still explored and included in Grahame-Smith’s novel, though with a more appealing amount of mayhem and death.

One question that comes up after reading this exciting novel is whether or not teachers will allow students to read this new version of the novel in place of the original when the story is required reading for a class.

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