An Open Letter From Jane Austen To Hollywood About "Pride And Prejudice And Zombies"
Politics and Activism

An Open Letter From Jane Austen To Hollywood About "Pride And Prejudice And Zombies"

In her day, battling Pride and Prejudice was exciting enough.

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To the notorious, infamous organization of indoctrination known, I believe, as Hollywood,

I trust you will not be unduly startled at the appearance of a letter addressed to you from my deceased self. A voice from the grave would generally be a very upsetting phenomenon but I congratulate myself that your current fascination with these so-called “zombie” creatures makes my faith in your complete lack of any sensible reaction entirely justified. I may, in fact, have provided a logical conclusion to your scheme; you have presumed to interject the “undead” into one of my most popular works, so you shall, therefore, have the dead address you about it personally.

How fortunate for you.

To begin with, I must confess that I do not pretend to understand the current rapture of the entertainment industry over these “undead” beings; from my humble position (please disregard the fact that it is in a grave several feet under the ground you tread upon), it seems that you spend an exorbitant amount of energy creating and designing creatures in order to present them to people who, if they are in their right minds, want to hide their eyes from them rather than behold them. At the very least, you apparently relish spending your time inducing nightmares in the youngsters, and as far as their elders are concerned – well, it is the same story for them, too. However, I shall say no more about it as I understand that you have made a great deal of money in ventures of this kind and, of course, one can only assume that you regard that as your highest goal.

It is when “zombies” become a prominent fixture in your newest adaptation of my work (and when one of my most famous literary family of girls become warriors in the fight against them) that I must interest myself in them more than I should like to. (I must confess that I have not actually viewed your motion picture as I have the self-preserving desire to keep all things grotesque at arms-length. I doubt no one will deny, however, that I have the undisputed right to comment on anything done to my work as I am the original creator). The very idea of what you have done to one of my most popular works is quite enough for me to contemplate and respond to, and you may rest assured that I have consulted several avenues of thought on the subject. Accordingly, I shall explain to you what you think you have done to my story and then I shall tell you how the matter truly stands. I trust that this is agreeable? (How fortunate that you do not have any say in the matter!).

From what I have seen of your mutated version of my story (I am well acquainted with the luxury of seeing the best parts of a movie displayed on what you call the “trailer” or “sneak peek,” as well as viewing next to anything on this “Youtube,” including bits and pieces of a film that you label “clips”), you appear to approach it with the greatest confidence. It seems you feel no qualms at the idea of adapting a novel that, I may modestly say, has stood the test of time, and for this extraordinary courage (or foolishness) I indulge you. The “stars” (as they are somewhat excessively called) of the motion picture, as well as the director, express sentiments of complete self-assurance of my approval at the liberties they have taken with my book, and I have come to understand that the main reason for this audacity is your belief that you have been true to the essence of my original tale.

Apparently, according to your good selves, my original book strongly purports what you describe as "feminist" ideals (there is truly nothing that compares to the phenomenon of having succeeding generations speculate on what your work really meant); I shall waste no time disputing this as my current missive to you is not concerned with your notion of feminism, although there is certainly much to be said about it. The main point is that you obviously believe that the way your Bennet girls conduct themselves as the main warriors of the film is but a picture of what my female characters were doing in their day through their conversation, actions and attitudes toward love, marriage, men and equality. In an effort to bring this point across, I deduce that you have used these “zombies” as an instrument to draw out what you consider the real intention of my work, this time in a package in which the youth of today will delight. It is, indeed, my decided opinion that zombies are not the focus of the picture (which is, coincidentally, your salvation in my eyes); rather, the idea of "feminism" is the prevailing theme of the movie and the unfortunate "undead" are merely tools used to bring your point across.

I must tell you, in reply, that my “Pride and Prejudice” was both a reflection of my time and an attempt to draw attention to ways in which it was deficient. Elizabeth Bennet represented what every young woman should have been allowed to think and believe to be possible, just as my life as a single and successful woman writer belied every myth about female inaptitude so rampant in my period. You apparently respect this well-enough and appear to do no more than adapt my story for the changing ideals of the times. Your film is, perhaps, a “Pride and Prejudice” for your day, but in making it such, you must understand that it is a reflection of your culture’s needs as much as it is (considering the hideousness of your zombies) quite an unflattering portrait, at times, of my own ideas. Still, I shall not quarrel with you at the risk of being remembered poorly (that is, more poorly than I already am remembered by certain young people who are forced to read my books against their will in classrooms all over the nation).

Well, I am rarely concise (or so says the impertinent young author whose article this is…she brazenly calls me the “Queen of the Comma”) but I shall be more so than usual and bid you farewell now. Do not assume that I approve of you yet, Hollywood, or that I am not carefully observing your other adaptions of my literary offspring; indeed, should you ever again attempt anything quite as daring as this “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” you shall no doubt hear from me further. Until then, however, I remain respectfully yours,

Jane Austen

Check out some of the information that helped me to write this article below:

Interview with director Burr Steers:

Interview the Lily James, Matt Smith, and Jack Huston:

Interview with Main Actors of the Film on "Entertainment Monthly:" http://emertainmentmonthly.com/2016/02/06/intervie...

The movie "Becoming Jane," which tells the story of the young Jane Austen and her first love

A synopsis of the movie by the film site IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1374989/synopsis?ref_=...

Emma Thompson's Golden Globe Speech:

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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