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Reading Questions for Pride and Prejudice

and Zombies
Warning: May contain spoilers
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.

Questions:

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?

8. Vomit plays an important role in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Mrs.
Bennet frequently vomits when she's nervous, coachmen vomit in disgust
when they witness zombies feasting on corpses, even the steady Elizabeth
can't help but vomit at the sight of Charlotte lapping up her own bloody pus.
Do the authors mean for this regurgitation to symbolize something greater,
or is it a cheap device to get laughs?

9. Is Lady Catherine's objection to Elizabeth (as a bride for her nephew)


merely a matter of Elizabeth's inferior wealth and rank? Or could there be
another explanation? Could she be intimidated by Elizabeth's fighting
skills? Is she herself secretly in love with Darcy? Or is she bitter about the
shortcomings of her own daughter?

10. Some scholars believe that the zombies were a last-minute addition to
the novel, requested by the publisher in a shameless attempt to boost
sales. Others argue that the hordes of living dead are integral to Jane
Austen's plot and social commentary. What do you think? Can you imagine
what this novel might be like without the violent zombie mayhem?