The central theme in "How Beastly the Bourgeois Is" addresses hypocrisy and corruption. D. H. Lawrence criticizes the "male of the species" for having the appearance of goodness and the substance of a "toadstool." According to Lawrence, the bourgeois male flourishes in simple times when life is successful and pleasant, when he can "go tramping thirty miles a day after partridges, or a little rubber ball" (7-8). Yet according to Lawrence, the bourgeois male cannot stand up to difficulty, and Lawrence's poem adopts an extremely critical tone to criticize these shortcomings, comparing the bourgeois to a floppy "wet meringue" with no substance.
"How Beastly the Bourgeois Is" attacks the lack of substance found within this particular group. Lawrence's poem criticizes their appearance of strength and goodness which so easily falls away to being a "mess, either a fool or a bully" (15).