22 Kasım 2014 Cumartesi

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” Gender and Authorship

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (initially titled "First Impressions"), was one of the four novels to be printed anonymously during her life time. Written in 1797, it did not get published until 1813. It raised brutal criticism as well as acknowledgment of her ability to write. As a writer well aware of the mores of her day, she chose to weave her plots around marriage, in which she could explore social norms, and how these norms functioned. Pride and Prejudice has in its centre the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. The novel is not simply a regency romance, or a romantic-comedy as some of today’s readers and critics would like to call it, but it is also a social commentary of life in the genteel rural society of Austen’s day, of first impressions, prejudices, social expectations and duties, and the affect all these have in the way in which the characters of the novel communicate and socially engage. In order for the two characters (as well as Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley’s characters) to finally come together there are many changes they need to undergo. These are changes in their perceptions of life in general, and to a certain degree, changes in their ideologies that will not be easily owned.
Seth Grahame-Smith’s mash-up or the expanded (as so-called) version of Pride and Prejudice on the other hand, brings to the table the zombies, as the re-written version of the novels title suggests: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2008). Grahame-Smith, in an interview with Time magazine book critic Lev Grossman explains where the idea came from saying “[Jason Rekulak] had had this sort of long-gestating idea of doing some kind of mashup, he called it. He didn't know what it was; he just knew there was something to it. He had these lists, and on one side he had a column of War and Peace and Crime and Punishment and Wuthering Heights and whatever public domain classic literature you can think of. And on the other side he would have these phenomena like werewolves and pirates and zombies and vampires. He called me one day, out of the blue, very excitedly, and he said, all I have is this title, and I can't stop thinking about this title. And he said: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. For whatever reason, it just struck me as the most brilliant thing I'd ever heard.”1 With the zombies introduction to the story line the heroine of the novel, as well as the rest of the characters, the setting are all changed to a certain degree to fit this new format too. Elizabeth Bennet is no longer just a witty young woman, but she is also a fearless slayer, with deadly combat skills. Mr. Darcy is not just attracted to Elizabeth because she was “so unlike the other women” (Austen, 418) he has known, but as Elizabeth puts it in the latter version, because “… [she] knew the joy of standing over a vanquished foe; of painting [her] face and arms with their blood, yet warm, and screaming to the heaven –begging, nay daring , God to send [her] more enemies to kill.” (Austen, Grahame-Smith, 311) There are many similarities in both works, of course, as the original body of work is used as the basis to build a newer version of the story by Grahame-Smith. The differences which are the results of the alteration of Pride and Prejudice-reality however should not be disregarded, as these changes create a different social commentary of our contemporary times, and our wants and likes as contemporary readers.
Elizabeth is no longer a character that has been created by a female author with a female voice, who is aware of the social limitations that are being imposed on her as a result of her gender, but she is made a part of the mainstream tomboy heroine culture, who slays like a man, and is proud of it.

                                         Background Information: Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen was not only a female writer, but she was also a female reader, “[a] woman as the consumer of male-produced literature” (Showalter) 2. Among what she read were, of course, female authors’ works as well, some of whom are claimed to be among her favorite novelists: Fanny Burney and Maria Edgeworth. She was well educated; daughter of a rector, who lived most of her short-lived life in the country or in the country towns. George Saintsbury describes her writing skills in A Short History Of English Literature, comparing her to her contemporary novelist Sir Walter Scott saying “[w]hile Scott indicat[ed] almost all the possible lines of fiction, and follow[ed] some of them out with astonishing thoroughness and success, a lady, not much his own junior but destined to a much shorter life than his, was achieving hardly less real success in others, especially those which he touched least.” (pp.681)3. “A lady”, that was one of  the words he chose to describe Austen; which perhaps echoes a criterion that has been used to signify her capability as an author.
She did not employ history as one of her subjects (not directly at least) the way Scott did for example; but wrote what Scott himself touched the least, for perhaps the urgency of her reality had great differences than of her contemporary male authors’. There are hints in her novels that make the fact clear that Austen, unlike the common belief, was aware of the political and social unrest of her time, as she, for example, stations a militia regiment in Meryton in Pride and Prejudice without directly referring to its reasons. She wrote on what others considered to be of mild importance; she worked on a different mode of fiction: the domestic comedy of upper middle-class and their responses to the realistic accounts of the everyday life of the country families of Regency England. As dull as it may sound to some, it was without a doubt realistic in its assumptions. It is evident throughout her writing that she was well aware that marriage was seen as a social obligation to society (and perhaps it is still seen as such), but nevertheless something that still could be challenged, as much as could be dared in the late 18th and early 19th century England. Though it was not uncommon for women to engage in literary activities, for there were a big number of female writers at the time, still the ideal occupation for a woman was to marry and have children; the work force a woman could offer was related to her biology and her supposedly-womanly abilities to take care of children, her husband, and the house of residency. It is not illogical to imagine that women of the time would be nervously concerned over matrimony issues therefore, and that the converses exchanged would be based on matters as such.
The problem for the impermanent ‘female-author’, as well as her subject, in this historical context however, shows the double restriction set for women within this culture: they either risked becoming outcasts within the literary circles, for they could not accomplish traveling to the unknown in ways in which the male authors already had (more than several times that is), meaning they could never be as good, or they were pathologized for writing to begin with; and writing of such trivial matters as matrimony and parents and their children and the economic life of their characters.
Though there is not enough information on how Pride and Prejudice came to be, it is certain that it was well known by the time it was published. The male voices that chose to praise the work of Austen for example, generally did it by alluding to the limits of her work. Edward Fitzgerald’s comment on her work, in this sense, summarizes how these praises were at the same time fault-finding in their nature: “She is capital as far as she goes; but she never goes out of the Parlour”4. But, the male authors were not alone in criticizing Austen, for Germaine de Staël who after reading one of Austen’s novels called it “vulgaire”5, and Charlotte Brontë on reading Pride and Prejudice said she thought Austen’s work was “a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck.”The physiognomy Brontë could not find in Austen’s work is especially worth analyzing, as Austen’s choice of personality or character assessment relies more on the dialogues, but she still uses physical descriptions to elaborate on characteristic qualities of her characters. On the contrary, it is these two elements put together that distinguished her from her contemporaries, and perhaps even what made (and still makes) her characters look almost organic. It is possible for a reader to watch her characters’ mannerisms and simultaneously view their physical conditions, and witness their growth or even their resistance to a self-evolution in time and through experience.
Albeit the criticism it had received during its publication time, Pride and Prejudice is commonly considered to be Austen‘s best social satire; to this day it remains to be her most popular work, reprinted in book format many times and had its sequels and spin-offs written. It also found a place on the screen, as several screen adaptations have been made, including the first movie-version that was released in 1940 whose screenplay was written by Aldous Huxley and Jane Murfin, and a more famous and recent screen adaptation, the 2005 remake which was directed by Joe Wright and was released under the original title.  It has even found a unique place within the postmodern era, as it was rewritten in a mash-up, and gave start to a new literary fashion.

                          Background Information: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Receiving a degree in film from Boston’s Emerson College, Seth Grahame-Smith became a freelance writer after quitting his TV development job, which he considered as a “very, very bad decision” (Grahame-Smith) for several years. He wrote his first book in 2005 (The Big Book of Porn: A Penetrating Look at the World of Dirty Movies), which is a mixture of the pornography-industry history, starting from its early dates, and of Grahame-Smith’s personal favorites from the genre. He co-created The Hard Times of RJ Berger (which premiered on MTV in 2010) with David Katzenberg, and the show ran for two seasons until it was canceled in 2011. Though perhaps, what turned his career around was accepting the offer that came from Quirk Books editor, Jason Rekulak; as he was the one to come up with the idea of creating a mash-up of such sort, using Pride and Prejudice, and adding to it a plot that would employ zombies, ninjas (or ‘Orientals’ as referred to as in the book) and several other supernatural characters; in 2009 with the final decision to use zombies, ninjas and Shaolin temple monks, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies took its place in the bookstores. Since then it has received mixed reviews, and perhaps have helped the mash-up subgenre in literature become noticeable.
Broadly speaking, a mash-up is the combination of two or more sources that can be used to construct a new form or creation, or in other words it is a hybridized and modified work. Adam Cohen, in his 2009 article7, explains where the idea of mash-ups [might have come]  from, as he briefly states that the idea of combining two data sources into a new product began in the tech world, and from there on spread to different mediums of creativity. The arguments are still as fresh as the emergence of the mash-up subgenre in fiction and there seems to be two opposing ideas in the center of these debates: mash-ups are either recreations, therefore they carry an essence of originality which is worth consideration and an academic studying in accordance with the current cultural tendencies, or they are simply aftermarket products targeting readers that would not have read the original work otherwise and who seek easy entertainment. In any case, mash-up as a literary phenomenon, whether it be considered as plagiarism or as recreation, seems to have kindled an academic debate.
Though no great changes have been made to the storyline in a general sense, it is still curious why Grahame-Smith made the final decision to use zombies but not the even more common supernatural characters such as vampires or werewolves.  Aside from the fact that zombies are among the popular fictional creatures of the recent years, one argument might be that it is simpler to insert them into an already existing body of work, as they are dead (i.e., undead) and silent and that they cannot interact with the already existing characters of the text the way a more sentient supernatural creature could do for example. In other words, they can create interruptions within the text, but not really mingle in it. Their state of existence excludes amusement, emotions, and other behavioral phenomena, but includes the more primordial need of feeding which as a result limit their capability of interference.
The origins of zombie mythology, according to some researchers, go back to folkloristic rituals of the West Indian nation of Haiti; a voodoo ritual that would reanimate the dead. They were first used as cinematic characters in a 1932 movie, White Zombie, a movie directed by Victor Halperin, but it was not until 1968 that their initiations to popular culture were made. The idea of zombies changed dramatically during this thirty-six years, while the zombies in White Zombie were more like slaves that worked in sugar mills, and were “robotic” (Dendle, 3)8, they were not transformed into hungry for human flesh, brainless corpses until the 1968 George Romero  film, Night of the Living Dead.  And notably, films that were made after Night of the Living Dead simply followed in its footsteps. They also make their presence known in popular literature (pictured more or less like their on-screen forefathers), in works such as Book of the Dead (1989) an anthology of zombie horror stories, edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector, Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide (2003) and World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War (2006), and J.L. Bourne’s Day by Day Armageddon (2007).
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies after its publication and its success, also, had a prequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (2010), a sequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After (2011) written by Steve Hockensmith, as well as a graphic novel titled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel which was adapted by Tony Lee and illustrated by Cliff Richards and was published in 2011. It is also said that a screen adaptation of the mash-up is in production and is due in 2013.

                                    Similarities of the Two Works: After All It is a Mash-Up
As Macy Halford puts it, in her 2009 article9 in The New Yorker magazine, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is eighty-five percent Austen, and fifteen percent Grahame-Smith. Meaning, though there have been additions and therefore changes made to the text, much of the original work remains. Consequently, keeping a big portion of Austen’s text leaves a lengthy list of similarities, instead I shall attempt to focus on the nature of these similarities, and in brief elicit them with examples.
Grahame-Smith weaves an extra layer, his sub-plot, around and inside the foundational theme of matrimony which it inherits from the original text. For example, both stories open with Mrs. Bennet delivering the big news that Netherfield Park has been rented by a young, well-to-do gentleman named Charles Bingley. Her motives of announcing the news are identical: to have Mr. Bennet pay a visit to the new owner when the time comes, and have at least one of her daughters successfully married to Charles Bingley. Over the following chapters, with the exception of several chapters such as thirty, forty-one, forty-eight, and fifty-six, things evolve mainly according to the original text. By the end of the story Mrs. Bennet’s plans are mostly satisfied, as she “gives away” three of her daughters: Lydia is married to Wickham, Jane is happily married to Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth is married to Mr. Darcy.
The characters of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are faithful to their original essences as much as the added sub-plot allows them to be. Mrs. Bennet’s primary concern is to have her five daughters married to wealthy men, she is not conscious of the affect her behavior has, she is noisy, her manners are often considered to be ungraceful as a result of her “ill-breeding”. As a flat character who is almost robotic, she delivers a strong critique of traditional values by simply being herself. Mr. Bennet is indifferent, detached, and he is not a strong parental figure in either versions. Elizabeth is portrayed as an intelligent, honest, independent, and straightforward woman. Though not very good at keeping an open mind, she is capable of analyzing personalities but still is hasty in making decisions which sometimes result with her misjudging situations and people. She enjoys spending time outdoors, and she is not as skilled as her peers in ladylike crafts and more importantly, she is more pragmatic and realistic when compared to the other characters, as well as Jane for example, as she makes the comparison herself saying to Jane “you are too good”, “you wish to think all the world respectable” (Austen, Grahame-Smith 103)10. Although these traits sometimes work against her, they nevertheless remain to be the basic tools she uses to overcome her prejudices. Jane, the elder sister, is good hearted, cheerful, and friendly. Charles Bingley resembles Jane in many aspects, as he also is well-mannered, friendly, and kind. He does not show much capability of independence however, as he needs Mr. Darcy’s guidance on several matters. Elizabeth finds out how strong an influence Mr. Darcy is to Mr. Bingley after reading Darcy’s letter in which he tells her what role he had played in the separation of Jane and Bingley, for he believed Jane was “stricken with the strange plague”, and not only that but he also believed that the match would harm his friends reputation (Austen, Grahame-Smith 156, 157).  Mr. Darcy has also been portrayed in the same way, in the aspects that he is intelligent, responsible, caring towards his close relations yet distant to people he is not closely acquainted with. He is still not very successful at expressing himself with words during conversations; on the contrary he rather takes his time and writes letters which are more thorough and detailed. In the expanded version he is also more comfortable while he is not talking but using a weapon instead, which gives him a similar air in the sense that he performs to express his emotions rather than verbally let them be known. Grahame-Smith follows Austen’s footsteps in using the characters physical descriptions to reflect their personalities; not only how they move, talk and act, but also how they look tells a lot about who they are in a broader sense. In chapter forty-five of the mash-up (chapter three of the third volume of Pride and Prejudice), Grahame-Smith uses Miss Bingley’s description of Elizabeth to emphasize on how her occupation as a zombie slayer mirrors the way she looks, for “her midriff is too firm; her arms too free of loose flesh; and her legs too long and flexible.” (Austen, Grahame-Smith 217)
The setting of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has also many similarities with the original text. The story takes place during the early 19th century, and Longbourn for example remains to be the primary location. Grahame-Smith also uses detailed descriptions of the exterior like Austen does in order to show what the characters admire. For example, in chapter twenty-seven the narrator gives a description of the wall that surrounds London to protect it from the possible zombie attacks; it is compared to a castle, but when considered as a whole, the narrator says it is massive, and it is something that impresses Elizabeth whenever she sees it. (Austen, Grahame-Smith 117).
                                      Differences of the Two Works: Authorship and Gender
Historically women have been exiled to the home, and been confined within a gendered division of labor. Men have told the story for thousands of years, and both women and men have listened and they too told the story over and over again to many others. Imitation (i.e., mimesis) which is one of the most basic ways humans learn (from their parents, their friends, from the societies and cultures they live in) is, then, also applicable as a theory of learning how to use written language as an author, to express oneself. The implication this idea carries would mean for a female-author to use what the men had already coined to words; so how would she escape the restraints, or could she if she attempted to? If a language outside of a network is impossible, or in other words, if language is a social institution, an imitation, how could what she spoke and wrote be hers, but not others’? And thus, what would a woman choose to write about, and why would she choose so? Looked at from this perspective, matrimony sounds like a reasonable answer. As have been said previously, it was a subject area that the male authors chose to touch the least, something that they considered as trivial during Austen’s time. Therefore, it was perhaps an opportunity for Austen to narrate and explore women’s point of view in a premises that had not been as much attempted. It might be for the same reason that her male characters tend to be more silent, less vocal; almost as if they are aware of the awkwardness of their status quo within her fiction; and one might add that she is more cautious with her authority in the sense that she would rather not assume habitually what the male characters should be thinking. It is, for this reason, useful to juxtapose Austen’s and Grahame-Smith’s versions as, though separated by some hundred years of time, these two novels might still serve as a means of exploration of how gender as an ideology functions and manifests itself through authorship. If as Raewyn Connell says “everything about gender is historical”, and that “[g]ender is a social structure of social relations [...]” (Connell 11)11 then the stories woven and told; characters personalities and how they are made to act within that fictional reality; as well as the settings that reveal a state of mind are all parts of an author’s reality and to put it informally, their (conscious or unconscious) revelations of their gender identities.
In order to understand how Grahame-Smith’s, in comparison smaller, addition have changed the story and its sense, it is useful to first look at how the newly added sub-plot affect the characters’ personalities and manners. A pandemic has broken out in England, and the dead are resurrecting, roaming the towns and cities of England in pursuit of human flesh and brains. As a result citizens with modest incomes have gone or have sent their children to China, so that they can learn the deadly arts of the orient, and the upper-class citizens have traveled to Japan with the same purposes; and anyone who has received an education in the martial arts is bound by the law to serve the king and protect the land. In other words, the Napoleonic Wars have been replaced with a zombie pandemic and The Bennet sisters have traveled to China along with their father to receive their educations in the Shaolin Temple. That is to say, with the break of the pandemic the society have been militarized, and to Elizabeth’s (as well as other Bennet sisters’) education in her father’s library, have been added a temple and a Master whom she deeply respects.
The first zombie attack occurs during the first ball, and in this chapter the reader is introduced to Elizabeth the slayer. Before the zombie attack, Elizabeth overhears a conversation between Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy and upon hearing that Mr. Darcy does not find her handsome enough and that he would not wish to consider dancing with a young lady who has been slighted by other men, she reaches down to her dagger, that has been strapped around her ankle, and intends to follow Mr. Darcy outside and “open his throat” (Austen, Grahame-Smith 14), but her thoughts are interrupted by the screams that fill the room. There are many other instances in which Elizabeth expresses her want of vengeance, as she believes hers or someone else’s honor has been insulted. She often turns to violence as a form of solution, which contradicts Austen’s version because in Austen’s narrative, when facing a conflict Elizabeth resorts to thinking, and in cases of confrontation she chooses to use words, rather than drawing a dagger. The replacement of dialogue with violence becomes a normative behavior in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, something that is visible in the contemporary media’s representation of young boys and men who attempt to resolve conflicts with a fist fight, or with more excessive forms of violence, so to speak. Elizabeth’s personality has been changed to resemble these boys and men to fit the gender ideology of the tomboy trope. She is made to look athletic; her logicality has been reducted with an intensely physical orientation, and she is made to enjoy her new abilities and is keen to perform them.
In chapter thirty of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies she is asked by Lady Catherine (Mr. Darcy’s aunt) to fight some of her ninjas for entertainment purposes, and she is warned by Lady Catherine to take the fight seriously; Elizabeth blindfolds herself and quickly kills the first ninja, drawing her Katana across his stomach, and strangling him with his intestines; she beheads the second ninja; and after piercing the third ninja to the wall with her sword, she takes out his heart with her hand, turns around and takes a bite from it. (Austen, Grahame-Smith 132) The extremity of this scene is not only disturbing because of the idea of amusement that it is narrated with, but also because it pictures the ninjas as possessions who are dehumanized. This is the first scene in which Elizabeth actually kills humans, and feels no consequent remorse.
Another chapter worth mentioning in order to see how the altered text narrates the contemporary idea of gender would be chapter thirty-four where Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth for the first time. To their dialogue has been added a fight-scene which is initiated by Elizabeth. After Mr. Darcy’s exit the narration goes on as “[s]he knew not how to support herself, and from the feminine weakness which she had so struggled to exercise from her nature, sat down and cried for half an hour” (italics mine). (Austen, Grahame-Smith 153) Grahame-Smith chooses to replace Austen’s non-gendered description of Elizabeth’s physical state (“actual weakness”) with a gender-specific one. Her gender is used to juxtapose what is feminine and what is masculine, correlating crying to the female stereotype which alludes to the common notion that the female is weak as a result of her emotional nature.
In chapter forty-two, for example, in a scene told by the narrator we are given a picture of how Elizabeth’s education in the temple has been carried out. In an instance where she questions her father’s infidelity, or as the interpretation of it might suggest where she questions the patriarchy and the idea of masculinity that suggests men are, as a result of their nature, entitled to polygamy (not to be confused with polyamory), she is severely punished, “[…], and Elizabeth had more than once felt the sting of wet bamboo on her back for daring to question her father’s propriety” (Austen, Grahame-Smith 189). Another implication that this instance shows is that Elizabeth as a woman have been denied the ownership of her body. It is made to belong to her master, who has the right to use it as a tool of oppression. This chapter is also useful, in the sense that it further explains what is meant by “exercise from her nature”. In order to become stronger and less feminine, she has been subjected to corporal punishment, which is in other words a form of exorcism of the feminine from the female. We further see how she has internalized corporal punishment, in a former chapter, where she wishes that her master was there “[…] to bloody [her] back with wet bamboo” (Austen, Grahame-Smith 165).
To continue on the gender normative idea of masculinity, it might prove useful to analyze the additions made to the portrayal of the male characters. In chapter eighteen with an addition made, we are told that Bingley is a member of the “Society of Gentlemen for a Peaceful Solution to Our Present Difficulties” (Austen, Grahame-Smith 83). This is important as Bingley, throughout the novel, is described as less skillful in fighting the zombies. The better slayer Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, is a member of the “League of Gentlemen for the Encouragement of Continued Hostilities Against Our Most Unwelcome Enemy”. When placed side by side, one refers to passivity, and thuds a lack of masculinity, whereas the other suggests an active stance, which is connected to violence; and which befits the contemporary idea that boys and men are naturally prone to violence.
The language of the original novel has also been altered. Where Austen chooses to deliver a social criticism through her language and show the ways in which women are perceived, Grahame-Smith employs a phallocentric one. In chapter forty-seven of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Mary Bennet on Lydia’s elopement and its consequences says “[u]nhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson; that loss of virtue in a female is as easily removed as a piece of clothing; that one false step can cause endless ruin; that the only remedy for wounded honour is the blood of he who hath defiled it.” What Austen criticizes- “that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable” (Austen 317)-, Grahame-Smith chooses to sexualize. There are also double entendres added to the original text; in chapter forty-three for example, after a zombie attack, Mr. Darcy lends his musket and some ammunition to Elizabeth. Elizabeth, as she is about to give the bullets back, refers to them as “balls”, to which Mr. Darcy replies as “[t]hey belong to you, Miss Bennet.”, upon which their colors change, and they are forced to look away from one other in order not to laugh.
Overall, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, promotes violence over dialogue, and connects physicality to strength. The women in the novel are never just good, but always as good as with a continuing comparison made between them and the male characters. In some respects their portrayal shows a conflict of identity which is the end result of their split nature; they are turned into slayers and yet again they are to continue their quest of finding a suitable match: they are, like the text, hybridized. If, what makes Austen’s text a social satire is because she challenges the idea of marriage as an economical institution and ends her novel with the female heroine marrying a man of her choice for reasons other than the economical ones, then Grahame-Smith’s version strips the novel from these elements by replacing Elizabeth Bennet with Elizabeth the slayer who befits the heteronormative gender roles. If writing, like gender, is a performance which is constituted by the already existing languages and social structures, then the genders of the authors prove  to be crucial, especially when the differences between the same story is caused by what each author chooses to focus on.

Works Cited
1. Grossman, Lev. "'Pride and Prejudice,' Now with Zombies!" Time.com. Time, 2009. Web. 14 May 2012. <http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1889075,00.html>.
2. Elaine Showalter ‘Towards a Feminist Poetics’, in M. Jacobus, ed. Women Writing About Women (1979), pp. 25-33
3. A Short History of English Literature. 3. Macmillan And Co., Limited, 1908. 681. Print.
4. Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Women Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination. 2nd. Boston, Mass: Yale University Press, 1979’ pp. 109
5.  n.d. n. page. Web. 14 May. 2012.
6. Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Women Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination. 2nd. Boston, Mass: Yale University Press, 1979, pp. 109
7. n.d. n. page. Web. 25 May. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/opinion/14tue4.html?_r=2&scp=4&sq=pride prejudice zombies&st=cse>.
8. Dendle, Peter. "The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia." n.d. 249. Web. 15 May. 2012.
9. Halford, Macy. “JANE AUSTEN DOES THE MONSTER MASH.” <i>The New Yorker</i> 8 Apr. 2009:  N. pag. 21 May 2012 <http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2009/04/jane-austen-doe.html>.
10. Austen, Jane, and Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. 2009: 103. Print. 
11. Connell, Raewyn. Short Introductions: Gender. 2nd. Polity Press, 2009. 11.

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. England: Penguin Group, 2006
Auten, Jane and Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Quirk Books, 2009

18 Eylül 2014 Perşembe

Gün 2

Hayır. Ayın aydınlattığı bir gecede, bir uçurumun kenarında değilim ve saçlarım rüzgarda savrulmuyor. Bir deniz kenarında da değilim ve ayaklarımı dalgalar okşamıyor. Nerede olduğumu tam olarak kestiremiyorum. Olmayanı ve olmadığın şeyi  tarif etmek daha kolay demek ki. Belki? O kıvrımları net, kendinden emin resimlerine dâhil olamıyorum bir türlü.

Böylesi bir ışığı tarif ettiklerini duymadım hiç. Buğulu bir renk aydınlatıyor fısıltılar eşliğinde etrafımı. Dans mı ediyorlar? Ellerime takılıyor gözlerim. Neden ellerim diye düşünüyorum. Ve neden hep takılıyor gözlerim? Bütünü bilmek istemezmiş gibi her çeyrekte takılıyorlar.

Eskidiler. Tarlada, atölyede çalışmamış eller nasıl eskir ki?
Aynaları örten danteller çiziyor hızla gözlerim. Gömdükleri danteller dökülüyor ayak izlerimden. Zift gibi siyah danteller fışkırıyor dudaklarımın arasından. Ve sesleri yankılanıyor koridorlarda.
Bir koridordayım şimdi. Yürüyorum, açık kapılardan bakıyorum içeri. Bir türlü tesadüfen karşılaşamadığım bütün kadınlar... Gülümsüyorlar. Tarihi didik didik edip de anca kavuştuğum bütün kadınlar.
Ayak bastığım ama unuttuğum bir yerdeymişim gibi önce: Duymadığım ama bildiğim sözcükler. Bir odadan içeriye giriyorum, balkona doğru ilerliyorum. Tesadüf mü seçimim? Sağ elim cebimde duran sigara paketine çarpıyor. Başımı biraz eğip paketi çıkarıyorum cebimden. Bir heyecan dalgası sarsıyor ansızın bedenimi: Sırtıma dokunan bir ses


Benim olmayan ayinler ve dualar doluşuyor zihnime. Yok olup giden parçalarım düşüyor aklıma. Geç kalmışlığıma üzülmeye yeltenmeyeceğim. Her birini göğsüme bastırıyorum: Medusa bir, Medusa iki, Medusa üç.

Gözlerim değil ruhumun aynası. Belki de ondandır havada asılı duruşları. Sesim, sesim ve de ellerim. Gözler donuk bakmayı öğreniyorlar zamanla. Ait olmadığı her şey ile arasına mesafe koyan gözler değil ruhun aynası... Ve bir ırmakmışsın gibi duyuyorum seni. Ve göğü delen bir şimşekmişsin gibi içime işliyor sözlerin. Unutmayacağım.

Hayır. Dört nala koşan bir atın üstünde değilim. Beyaz bir elbise de yok üzerimde. Kırgın ve siyah-beyaz bir odadayım şimdi. Huzurumun çalınacağı anı seyrediyorum camdan. Nemli bir sıcak yükseliyor dirseklerimi dayadığım kalorifer peteklerinden. Basamak basamak yaklaşıyor hayaletin; zaman, geç artık! Beklemeyi bir daha asla sevemedim.

Ellerimden tutuyor bir kadın ve gözlerimi kapatıyorum bunca yıldan sonra ilk kez. Bunca yıldır ilk kez... Koridora dönüyoruz ve onlar nasıl sessiz adımlar öyle. Büyük bir masaya oturtuyor kadın beni. Sırayla oturanlara bakıyorum. Kiminin boynuna sözcükler dizilmiş, bileklerine. Kiminin bedenlerini resimler süslüyor. Konuşuyoruz, konuşuyoruz. Zaman, bekle!

Anahtarın sesi geliyor kapıdan. Cama sırtımı dönüyorum. Koca bir sessizlik çöküyor evin her köşesine. Birkaç tane kitap alıyorum elime. İlk sayfayı açıyorum. Bardak kırılıyor. Beşinci sayfadayım, sesini duyuyorum. Yedinci sayfa, yerden topladıkların ne? Işığı söndürüyorum, yorganın altına giriyorum, gözlerim açık. İçimde bir deprem ve bir türlü dinmiyor.

Ayağa kalkarken masaya tutunuyorum, sandalye yavaşça geriye kayıyor. Deniz fenerinin ışığı yanıyor artık, akşam olmak üzere. Bir bavul tutuşturuyorlar elime, yaprakları yere değen ağaçların arasından geçiyoruz. Ne zaman yalnız yürümeye başladım emin değilim... Dönüp arkama bakıyorum bir kez daha, renk renk duruyorlar geride ve elleri havada, yüzlerinde tebessüm. Buraya aidim; burada doğdum ve buraya döneceğim. Ve ne çok severim sonu üç noktayla biten, hediyeymişçesine natamam bırakılan, sonu artık kimseye ait olmayan ve herkese ait olan, davetkâr, mütevazı ve cesur cümleleri.

Gözlerim değil beni anlatan. Baktıklarında ceset gördükleri, üzerlerine mezarlar çizdikleri her yer yeşeriyor. Çocuklar büyüyor üzerlerinde ve gün yeni-den doğuyor, ışık bir başka aydınlatıyor yüzümü. Ellerim bir başka dokunuyor yüzüme. Ve susamıyorum artık: Medusa 3, Medusa 2, Medusa ben. Bir.