Besides giving Elizabeth and Jane some much needed parental figures – seriously, those two need at least one sane and involved adult in their lives, right? – the Gardiners can also be seen as part of the whole discussion about what makes a gentleman. The Gardiners are born into the middle class – not the gentry, like Darcy – and Uncle Gardiner makes his money by working as a lawyer rather than by inheriting it. Yet, when Darcy meets them, he is totally floored by how he would never in million years be able to tell that they aren't natural born aristocracy. Very interesting.