Recently, many young people have been enjoying modern adaptations of the classics such as Sherlock and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. However, are today’s young people enjoying the classics or are the classics being ruined by their modernization?

Take, for example, the fairly new film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, released February 2016, which takes Jane Austen’s classic tale of love and romance but with the addition of the extremely modern concept of zombies. English teacher Lori Leonard has taught the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in her grade 11 English Honours zombie unit for the past few years. According to Leonard, the film is clever and lots of fun but would not be as meaningful without the original book.

Grade 10 English teacher Brian Barrazuol agrees with the idea of combining the classics with modern ideas such as zombies. “When something catches on, it works. Taking these common trends and combining them with popular literature such as Pride and Prejudice are effective. It’s retelling the same story, but making it more modern.”

According to Barrazuol, by modernizing the classics they are made more accessible for today’s young people. “I agree with the modernization of the classics; it makes it more accessible for students to hear these stories in a language and with words that they understand,” said Barrazuol.

William Shakespeare is an excellent example of the modernization on the classics. One very common film adaptation of a Shakespeare play that is widely used and loved in English classes is Ten Things I Hate About You, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Another Shakespeare adaptation is West Side Story, based off of Romeo and Juliet; it is also widely used in drama classes.

Leonard noted that as long as the modernization is well done and keeps the essence of the story, a good story that is about human nature will be translatable to any time period.

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