Study Guide

Austenland Society and Class

By Shannon Hale

Society and Class

Jane Austen's novels were often scathing critiques of the social mores of the time. Austenland isn't a scathing critique of anything, but it uses the archaic class structures of Austen's day to good comedic effect. Where else but Austenland can you find servants who should be seen but not heard, people who talk down to each other because of their economic differences, women who want to find a man who is rich and in good social standing…? Hmm, maybe things haven't changed that much from Austen's day after all.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. How does the class structure at Austenland mimic the class structure from Jane Austen's time period?
  2. How does Mrs. Wattlesbrook exploit the real-life social class statuses of its guests and employees?
  3. Is Jane ever judged for being lower class in real life?

Chew on This

Mrs. Wattlesbrook would fit right in in Jane Austen's day; she's a woman who would maintain strict class barriers between herself and the commoners.

Jane uses Mrs. Wattlesbrook's insistence on maintaining a good reputation against her in the end. A bad article about Austenland would tarnish her good name, and a woman with a tarnished reputation is basically worthless.