A New Look at an Old Story

One of the most iconic romances in literary history occurs between Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. There have been many adaptations of Austen’s work in recent years, for adults and young adults alike, with varying degrees of quality. One recent adaptation is Pride by Ibi Zoboi, a story which takes place in Brooklyn and centers around the relationship between Zuri Benitez and Darius Darcy.

The way that Zoboi crafts this adaptation of Ms. Austen’s work is exceptional. While the characters come from completely different backgrounds and cultures, the parallels between the two stories are not strained at all. Anyone familiar with Austen’s work can make connections on every page. However, Pride is not simply a regurgitation of Austen’s work. While the characters’ personalities and their actions seem familiar, the events which influence their daily lives are very different from those experienced by Austen’s characters when Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813.

This would be a fantastic book to teach in high schools alongside Pride and Prejudice. Students can compare and contrast the period culture and gender norms in both texts. Pride also brings in the issue of gentrification which would be an interesting topic to discuss in the context of both books. It would be important for students to think about the role that race plays in these texts as well as its intersection with issues of class. Pride and Prejudice is still relevant to readers today, but introducing Pride alongside this classic work of literature brings the story to life in a whole new way.

Common Core Standards:

RL.2- Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.4- Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.

RL.6- Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).

RL.7- Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text.

RL.9- Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work.

Published by socialjusticeinchildrenslit

My name is Leah Cole and I was a teacher in Iowa for nine years. My passions for education, social justice, and children's literature led me to create this blog. Students are faced with issues of justice and fairness from the time they are very young. The Social Justice Standards developed by Teaching Tolerance help teachers to support the development of students who recognize and embrace their own identities while respecting and valuing those who are different. In this blog, I will attempt to identify and review books that support the social justice standards.

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