At a glance one may wonder what dances, ammunition, and male anatomy all have in common with one another. All three are mentioned in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and can be easily summed up in one word.
With that one word we have a slew of innuendo ripe for the making. Innuendo is a wonderfully humorous devise that can be subtly employed, yet cause such a blush as to leave no doubt of the scandalous nature of the comment made. Seth Grahame-Smith’s use of this clever devise is at once in keeping with the style of Jane Austen’s work, while deviating just enough to walk the line of decorum.
Dancing Around the Innuendo
Balls of the dancing variety provide the chief form of entertainment, and the most obvious opportunity for the double entendre. The first appearance is in the drawing room at Netherfield in a conversation between Miss Bingley and Mr. Darcy.
“I should like balls infinetely better,” [Miss Bingley] replied, “if they were carried on in a different manner.”
“You should like balls infinitely better,” said Darcy, “if you knew the first thing about them.”
The next appears at the Netherfield ball between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy while they are dancing.
“Very well. That reply will do for the present. Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones.”
“On the contrary, I find that balls are much more enjoyable when they cease to remain private.”
The Oddly Romantic Shot of Innuendo
With the presence of zombies the need to protect oneself presents the added opportunity for innuendo with the ammunition of the time. Elizabeth is proficient with the Brown Bess, a musket that utilizes lead ammunition in the form of balls. On a walk of the grounds of Pemberley with her aunt and uncle Mr. Darcy lends Elizabeth his Brown Bess for a time, and while returning it along with the ammunition we are presented with the oddest romantic innuendo.
She remembered the lead ammunition in her pocket and offered it to him. “Your balls, Mr. Darcy?” He reached out and closed her hand around them, and offered, “They belong to you, Miss Bennet.”
It is interesting to note that in each of the three cases of this type of innuendo, Mr. Darcy is the one making it. There are a few other places throughout the novel that utilize sexual innuendo. Overall what makes the use of innuendo funny here is that it is not over used, but strategically used.
Why would Mr. Darcy be the one making the innuendo? Does this make him less of a gentleman? What other examples of innuendo appear within the novel, and how do they influence your opinion of the characters involved?
*Photo: Naseby Musket Balls by uistin, obtained through Flickr.