Study Guide

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Family

By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Family

"Go and see this Bingley if you must, though I warn you that none of our girls has much to recommend them; they are all silly and ignorant like their mother, the exception being Lizzy, who has something more of the killer instinct than her sisters." (1.18)

Mr. Bennet doesn't think much of his daughters (except for Elizabeth), which is kind of sad, since he trained them to be ferocious zombie hunters. We guess the slayer's life isn't for everyone, and most people seem not to want a wife who's gonna be out cutting off the heads of the undead.

"I am astonished, my dear," said Mrs. Bennet, "that you should be so ready to think your own children silly."

"If my children are silly, I must hope to be always sensible of it." 

"Yes—but as it happens, they are all of them very clever. You forget how quickly they became proficient in those Oriental tricks you insisted on bestowing them." 

"Being practiced enough to kill a few of the sorry stricken does not make them sensible, particularly when their skills are most often applied for the amusement of handsome officers."(7.6-9)

Mrs. Bennet is a little too quick to think her daughters are brilliant, while Mr. Bennet is pretty tough on them at times. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between?

"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do; for I shall not have my best warrior resigned to the service of a man who is fatter than Buddha and duller than the edge of a learning sword."(20.17)

So much for Mom and Dad sending out the same message. Mr. Bennet is more than happy to step on his wife's toes when it comes to Elizabeth marrying Mr. Collins. Sure, it works out great for Elizabeth, but it's a little awkward when it comes to family unity.

Jane had been deprived, by the folly and indecorum of her own family! Oh! Could she only bring herself to dispense with the lot of them! (37.18)

Sometimes Elizabeth's family really gets her down. When she realizes that her mother and sisters (and even her father) are part of what cost Jane a chance at wedded bliss, Elizabeth can't help but contemplate how much easier life would be if she could just do away with all her pesky relations. A good beheading'll teach them.

"If you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking [Lydia's] exuberant spirits, or reminding her of our blood oath to defend the Crown above all things, she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment. Her character will be fixed, and she will, at sixteen, be the most determined flirt that ever made herself or her family ridiculous, and a disgrace to the honour of our beloved master."(41.18)

Lydia's supposed to be acting like a warrior—or at a least a proper young lady. But she's just running around flirting with everyone and ruining the Bennet family reputation. Someone has got to put a stop to it before it's too late. (Spoiler alert: It won't be too late for a few more chapters.)

Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to the impropriety of her father's behaviour as a husband. […] This had been especially arduous during their trips to China, which Mr. Bennet had supervised without the company of his wife, and during which he had taken many a beautiful Oriental to his bedchamber. Master Liu had defended this as acquiescence to local custom, and Elizabeth had more than once felt the sting of wet bamboo on her back for daring to question her father's propriety. But she had never felt so strongly as now the disadvantages that must attend the children of so unsuitable a marriage.(42.2)

Elizabeth knows her family situation isn't normal or happy. She's fought against this her whole life, and she doesn't want to repeat her parents' mistakes when she gets married. Looks like the student has become the master.

Elizabeth was wild to be at home—to hear, to see, to be upon the spot to share with Jane in the cares that must now fall wholly upon her, in a family so deranged, a father absent, a mother surely vomiting by now, and requiring constant attendance; and though almost persuaded that nothing could be done for Lydia. (46.25)

Even though her family is in total turmoil (and her mother is covered in vomit), Elizabeth wants to be home with them while they try to figure out where Lydia has been taken. Maybe the family that panics together stays together?

"My daughter and my nephew are formed for each other. Their fortune on both sides is splendid. They are destined for each other by the voice of every member of their respective houses; and what is to divide them? The upstart pretensions of a young woman whose sister was lately concerned in a scandalous elopement with the son of the elder Darcy's musket-polisher?"(56.48)

Lady Catherine appeals to her own sense of familial pride to try to get Elizabeth to back off Mr. Darcy. After all, no one in the Darcy family would want low-class Elizabeth hanging around Pemberley. We're not sure Lady Catherine is totally in sync with all her relations.

"Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you to take so much trouble, and offer to kneel before you now and administer the seven cuts, that you might be honoured by trampling my blood."(58.5)

Mr. Darcy has saved the Bennet family from total ruin and disgrace, so Elizabeth can't help but thank him. But why would he do something like that again? It doesn't make sense. Unless, of course, he wanted to become part of that family. Oh…

Kitty, to her very material advantage, spent the chief of her time with her two elder sisters. In society so superior to what she had generally known, her improvement was great. She was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia; and, removed from the influence of Lydia's example, she became, by proper attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid. When she announced that she should like to return to Shaolin, for two or three years, in hopes of becoming as fine a warrior as Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy was only too happy to pay for the whole.(61.5)

As soon as Kitty starts hanging out with her sensible relatives, she wises up. She even decides to start back up with her zombie training. Who knows what would have happened if she has kept hanging around with Lydia?