Study Guide

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Marriage

By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Marriage

"Bingley. A single man of four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!" 

"How so? Can he train them in the ways of swordsmanship and musketry?" 

"How can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them." 

"Marriage? In times such as these? Surely this Bingley has no such designs." 

"Designs! Nonsense, how can you talk so! It is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes." 

"I see no occasion for that. And besides, we mustn't busy the roads more than is absolutely necessary, lest we lose more horses and carriages to the unfortunate scourge that has so troubled our beloved Hertfordshire of late." 

"But consider your daughters!" 

"I am considering them, silly woman! I would much prefer their minds be engaged in the deadly arts than clouded with dreams of marriage and fortune, as your own so clearly is!" (1.11-18)

Right away, we cut to the meat of the story. Mrs. Bennet wants her daughters to get married, while Mr. Bennet wants them to be protected against the undead menace that walks the earth. Is it just us, or does one of those sound a little more important? But that's kind of the joke: for young ladies in 19th-century England, getting married is of life-or-death importance. It's even more important than zombies.

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance, and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life." 

"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."

"Remember, Elizabeth—I am not a warrior as you are. I am merely a silly girl of seven-and-twenty years, and that without a husband." (6.4-6)

Charlotte might not be a warrior or have a husband, but she's pretty wise. When you get married, you're taking a leap of faith and guessing that you'll still like that person fifty years from now. High modern divorce rates might be one indication that Charlotte is right.

"Miss Elizabeth Bennet!" repeated Miss Bingley. "Defender of Longbourn? Heroine of Hertfordshire? I am all astonishment. You will be having a charming mother-in-law, indeed; and, of course, the two of you would fell many an unmentionable with your combined proficiencies in the deadly arts." (6.30)

When Caroline Bingley hears that Mr. Darcy thinks Elizabeth is cute, she immediately jumps to making fun of a potential Bennet-Darcy wedding. This is super catty, but it's pretty smart. Mr. Darcy has to cringe a little at the thought of having Mrs. Bennet as a mother-in-law. The woman is a lot to take.

It was, moreover, such a promising thing for her younger daughters, as Jane's marrying so greatly must throw them in the way of other rich men. "Oh! What joy to see them all thus provided for! To see them entertaining at their own estates; raising their own children, instead of all this silly training and fighting." (18.53)

Oh, Mrs. Bennet. She just cannot shut her mouth about how her daughters are gonna marry rich guys and then give up on their zombie slaying. One thing we will say for her: all this scheming works in the end. Her two oldest daughters do end up with two very wealthy husbands. Way to go, Mrs. B.

"My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a right thing for every clergyman to set the example of matrimony in his parish. Secondly, that I am convinced it will add very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly, that it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness. […] Allow me, by the way, to observe, my fair cousin, that I do not reckon the notice and kindness of Lady Catherine de Bourgh as among the least of the advantages in my power to offer. You will find her powers of combat beyond anything I can describe; and your own talents in slaying the stricken, I think, must be acceptable to her, though naturally, I will require you to retire them as part of your marital submission." (19.9)

The funny thing is that Mr. Collins probably thinks this speech is pretty great. So romantic. Why lady wouldn't like to hear it? And, of course, Elizabeth will just give up fighting unmentionables to marry him? Naturally. #sarcasm

"I really do not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance, and skill in the deadly arts; and the affection she inspires in Louisa and myself is heightened from the hope we dare entertain of her being hereafter our sister." (21.25)

Oh, that's coldblooded. Caroline Bingley writes to Jane that she thinks her brother is going to marry Georgiana Darcy, but it's all lies. Obviously, if Mr. Bingley married Georgiana, that would be awesome for Caroline: she would get to hang out with Mr. Darcy a whole lot more. Wink, wink.

"You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the slightest grief which I might have felt in beheading you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner." (34.24)

That's one way to turn down a marriage proposal. After Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth that he likes her but hates her family, the two of them throw down, and Elizabeth insults him pretty badly: she tells Mr. Darcy that he didn't behave like a gentleman, which hurts. Basically, Mr. Darcy might have money and good looks and sweet fighting skills, but he sure doesn't have manners.

That she should receive an offer of marriage from Mr. Darcy! That she should fail to kill him when her honor demanded it! That he should have been in love with her for so many months! So much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objections which had made him prevent his friend's marrying her sister, and which must appear at least with equal force in his own case—was almost incredible! It was gratifying to have inspired unconsciously so strong an affection. (34.31)

Mr. Darcy's marriage proposal might have turned deadly, but Elizabeth is no dummy—she knows that having a rich, handsome, zombie killer like Mr. Darcy propose to you is a big deal. She doesn't regret saying no, but she's also feeling a little bit good about herself. Maybe she's secretly more amazing than she thought?

Had Elizabeth's opinion been all drawn from her own family, she could not have formed a very pleasing opinion of conjugal felicity or domestic comfort. Her father, captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humour which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her. Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished for ever; and all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown. But Mr. Bennet was not of a disposition to seek comfort for the disappointment which his own imprudence had brought on. Instead, he sought to ensure that his daughters would not follow in their mother's silly, idle footsteps. (42.1)

Okay, so Elizabeth's parents messed up when it came to the task of marrying well. She's determined not to follow in their footsteps, and we don't blame her.

I have seen them both. They are not married, nor can I find there was any intention of being so; but I can happily report that Mr. Wickham has lately undergone a most remarkable change of heart on the subject, and wishes they be wed with the utmost expediency. He is in a most dreadful state, however, for a carriage accident has left him bedridden and unable to move his limbs, or control his personal business. I am afraid his doctors are of the opinion that he shall remain thus for the whole course of his life; but imagine their relief to know that he shall have a devoted wife to attend to his every need till death do they part. (49.16)

Weird. Mr. Wickham's view on marrying Lydia changed pretty quickly once he was in that "carriage accident" and could never walk again. Looks like he'll need a doting—if slightly annoying—wife, after all. Sign him up for a lifetime of marital bliss…