In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice classism is deeply entwined with etiquette and at the heart of all social interactions, dictating to what degree it is appropriate to become familiar with others. Family connections, wealth and breeding are very important factors in finding suitable matches. Education is also a factor, and this takes on an intriguing twist in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
The Affluent Japanese Preference
Those up the Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a warrior of near legendary skill in the deadly arts, having the reputation of “a woman who had slain ninety dreadfuls with nothing more than a rain-soaked envelope.” She is not above sharing her opinion on the superiority of Japanese training over Chinese Shaolin training, which she regards as clumsy kung fu sold by monks much to the offense of Elizabeth Bennet.
Humble Shaolin Superiority
The Bennet sisters have all been trained in China by the Shaolin. Of the sisters, it is Elizabeth who wields these skills with the greatest of mastery. She is often referred to as Mr. Bennet’s best warrior, and possesses the keenest killer instinct of the five Bennet sisters. However, it is interesting to note that though she is a student of Shaolin, a form of martial arts taught by Buddhist monks, Elizabeth’s own pride often prompts her to easy offense when others speak against the quality of her training. For all the claims of the inferiority of Elizabeth’s skill, largely by Lady Catherine, Elizabeth often proves just how mistaken those claims are.
In spite of Lady Catherine’s assertion that her ninja possess superior fighting skills to the Shaolin trained Elizabeth, a great many in her employ die at the hands of the inferior Elizabeth. Three of Lady Catherine’s most deadly ninjas are slain in a training demonstration while Elizabeth fights blindfolded against them just to prove the deadliness of her skill. Another two ninja are killed in absolute silence while Lady Catherine turns her back on a wounded Elizabeth on a visit to end an engagement that at the time is pure rumor. Lady Catherine eventually sends fifteen ninjas to attack Pemberley out of extreme indignation of her nephew’s choice to marry Elizabeth. It is said that this effort was thwarted and as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are both fine warriors we can assume that they killed every last ninja that dared follow Lady Catherine’s orders to attack their home.
Given that Lady Catherine is said to have had twenty-five ninja in her employ to begin with, that means she lost five for sure to the inferior skills of the Shaolin trained Elizabeth and an additional fifteen to the combined skill of her nephew and Elizabeth. I wonder how loyal the remaining five ninja are to Lady Catherine after so poor a showing, and whether or not she bothered replacing those that died at the hands of inferior warriors?
Do you think that Elizabeth’s pride made her too easily offended? In a real fight between a student of Shaolin versus Ninja, who would win? How many ninja would you like to have as your personal guard?
*Photo: katana (sword) by snappybex, obtained through Flickr.