As a novelist, Austen vehemently defended the new genre of the novel, which was constantly under fire as being a corrupting influence, especially to young women. Her most famous literary defense can be found in the novel Northanger Abbey, which is, itself, a parody of the gothic romance novel. Austen makes great fun of the idea that a young woman is so credulous and overwrought with imagination that she would actually believe herself to be the subject of such a novel. Further, Austen's satire of early nineteenth-century upper-class society in Pride and Prejudice can be so subtle that people often miss it entirely and just think that she's writing a charming little love story. In reality, she is intelligently and compellingly pointing out the plight of women in this stratum of society: how, often, they must choose between marrying someone they do not and cannot love, simply because it will give them financial and social security, or become a drain on their families' finances and social possibilities. Women are condemned as mercenaries for marrying for money, but then they are condemned as old maids and spinsters if they do not marry at all. As a novelist, then, Austen is sharp and pointed but also sparkling and fun. Her books are, often, a joy to read, but they have very serious messages aimed at helping society to see itself clearly and improve.