Clutching My Pearls is my ongoing blog series about Jane Austen and the beliefs of her times. Click here for the first in the series.
Many critics do more than point out how important money matters are in Austen's novels; they draw conclusions about Austen's attitudes toward her society, based on the mentions of money in her novels. Professor Robert D. Hume, for example, is certain that Austen intended a critique of her patriarchal society. He is more indignant on behalf of the Bennet girls than Austen is herself. In "Money in Jane Austen" he spells out the very unfunny failures of Mr. Bennet, who hasn't saved money for his daughters, and concludes that we ought to despise him. Although Hume acknowledges that Austen does not condemn Mr. Bennet, he nevertheless thinks "Pride and Prejudice is a glum but telling satiric protest against the socio-economic position of early nineteenth-century women, elegantly camouflaged in a fantasy romance."