Reading Questions for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
About this book: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a rich, multilayered study of love, war, and the supernatural. We hope these questions will deepen your appreciation and enjoyment of this towering work of classical zombie literature.
1. Many critics have addressed the dual nature of Elizabeth's personality. On one hand, she can be a savage, remorseless killer, as we see in her vanquishing of Lady Catherine's ninjas. On the other hand, she can be tender and merciful, as in her relationships with Jane, Charlotte, and the young bucks that roam her family's estate. In your opinion, which of these "halves" best represents the real Elizabeth at the beginning—and end of the novel?
2. Is Mr. Collins merely too fat and stupid to notice his wife's gradual transformation into a zombie, or could there be another explanation for his failure to acknowledge the problem? If so, what might that explanation be? How might his occupation (as a pastor) relate to his denial of the obvious, or his decision to hang himself?
3. The strange plague has been the scourge of England for "five-and-fifty years." Why do the English stay and fight, rather than retreat to the safety of eastern Europe or Africa?
4. Who receives the sorrier fate: Wickham, left paralyzed in a seminary for the lame, forever soiling himself and studying ankle-high books of scripture? Or Lydia, removed from her family, married to an invalid, and childless, yet forever changing filthy diapers?
5. Due to her fierce independence, devotion to exercise, and penchant for boots, some critics have called Elizabeth Bennet "the first literary lesbian." Do you think the authors intended her to be gay? And if so, how would this Sapphic twist serve to explain her relationships with Darcy, Jane, Charlotte, Lady Catherine, and Wickham?
6. Some critics have suggested that the zombies represent the authors' views toward marriage—an endless curse that sucks the life out you and just won't die. Do you agree, or do you have another opinion about the symbolism of the unmentionables?
7. Does Mrs. Bennet have a single redeeming quality?