Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

10) How is the novel a critique of the social norms of its time?

Austen shows that people who have more money or a higher social status are not necessarily better people. In fact, often they have less integrity, less intelligence, and less ability to make the world a better place. For example, Caroline Bingley finds the Bennet sisters boring and their mother intolerable, but she is only trying to woo Mr. Darcy for herself. Mr. Collins is a buffoon who defines himself by his patron and prattles on about topics that do not interest his audience. Lady Catherine, a character of high social standing, is conceited and rude to Elizabeth in their final conversation. Austen uses her characters to reveal a universal truth: Wealth and status do not make people good people.