7. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

May 6, 2009

Even though this wild adaptation of a Jane Austen novel was released on April 1, I have yet to read it (but I really want to). Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith looks pretty awesome.

See a screen shot from chapter 1 here.

From the screen shot (and from a very dependable Wiki-synopsis) we learn that the 19th century propriety of women is in jeopardy because of the alternate zombie-universe. Women, like Elizabeth Bennett, are trained in the martial arts to defend themselves.

This story imposes non-traditional roles to females. In the screen shot linked above, Elizabeth Bennett is fighting zombies. Aside from being completely fictitious, women in the 1820’s traditionally were not trained in martial arts and were not expected to defend themselves in combat (especially against zombies).

What Seth Grahame-Smith is doing is imposing liberal feminism on “historical” characters. Liberal feminism claims that “gender differences are not based on biology” (p. 404). It also claims that “men and women should be treated in a gender neutral manner, and have access to the same roles, rights, privileges and opportunities.” Seth Grahame-Smith adheres to the Victorian-era social rules that mandate men and women are NOT entitled to the same rights and opportunities, but he allows room for women and men to have a level playing field with the use of zombies: when both genders have to be defended, both are able to defend themselves. When zombies attack, men and women suddenly have the same gender neutrality and have the same role in saving themselves. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies brings liberal feminism into Jane Austen’s classic original novel.

SOURCES: Austen, J., & Grahame-Smith, S. (2009). Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Quirk Books.
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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