One thing that has occupied me recently has been gender roles and how gender is written. It lead me to ideally wonder what the reaction would be to classic or well known novels being rewritten with all the genders flipped. This would not include characterisation. Or maybe films filmed where the genders of all characters are flipped.
As a thought experiment I have rewritten the first page or so of Pride and Prejudice…
UPDATE: edited the pronouns – not sure I got them right. Flipping Mr to Mrs is not like to like…
If a man in the original is a Mr. whatever his status then flipping would have a woman as Mrs.? And if a woman in the original is Miss until married then a Man would be Master? Which is what I ma going with.
Pride and Prejudice
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a husband.
However little known the feelings or views of such a woman may be on her first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that she is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their sons.
“My dear Mrs. Bennet,” said her gentleman to her one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”
Mrs. Bennet replied that she had not.
“But it is,” returned he; “for Mr. Long has just been here, and he told me all about it.”
Mrs. Bennet made no answer.
“Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried her husband impatiently.
“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”
This was invitation enough.
“Why, my dear, you must know, Mr. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young woman of large fortune from the north of England; that she came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that she agreed with Mrs. Morris immediately; that she is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of her servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”
“What is her name?”
“Is she married or single?”
“Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single woman of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our boys!”
“How so? How can it affect them?”
“My dear Mrs. Bennet,” replied her husband, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”
“Is that her design in settling here?”
“Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that she may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit her as soon as she comes.”
“I see no occasion for that. You and the boys may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mrs. Bingley may like you the best of the party.”
“My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a man has five grown-up sons, he ought to give over thinking of his own beauty.”
“In such cases, a man has not often much beauty to think of.”
“But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mrs. Bingley when she comes into the neighbourhood.”
“It is more than I engage for, I assure you.”
“But consider your sons. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Lady William and Sir Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know, they visit no newcomers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit her if you do not.”
“You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mrs. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure her of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of the boys; though I must throw in a good word for my little Luke.”
“I desire you will do no such thing. Luke is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure he is not half so handsome as Joe, nor half so good-humoured as Lance. But you are always giving him the preference.”
“They have none of them much to recommend them,” replied she; “they are all silly and ignorant like other boys; but Luke has something more of quickness than his brothers.”
“Mrs. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves.”
“You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least.”
“Ah, you do not know what I suffer.”
“But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young women of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood.”
“It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, since you will not visit them.”
“Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all.”
Mrs. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make her husband understand her character. His mind was less difficult to develop. He was a man of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When he was discontented, he fancied himself nervous. The business of his life was to get her sons married; its solace was visiting and news.
4 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice: Gender Flipped Chapter One”
You’ve missed a couple of pronoun swaps. But it’s an interesting experiment.
Drat. I will go over again tonight…
Curious how the zeitgeist moves us independently in similar directions. However, the version I’ll probably go with is a lot farther from the original – it’s the second version here, and also gender-flipped: http://grace.splashdownbooks.com/2013/07/pride-and-prejudice-in-space-take-your.html
Nice 🙂 This is a very basic gender flip but I have been considering a fuller version. Not in space though.