Anne Elliot in Jane Austen's Persuasion might very well tell Harriet in Emma and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice to be well aware that appearances are not always reality and that many men and women have ulterior motives when it comes to social class and marriage.
We will begin with the lessons each of these three young ladies learn over the course of the novels. Anne Elliot learns from Mrs. Smith that Mr. Elliot's motives for courting her are not at all what they appear. Mr. Elliot does not especially care about Anne. He merely wants to inherit her father's wealth and social standing by marrying her. Anne refuses Mr. Elliot.
Harriet has her own share of struggles with men. Her friend Emma thinks that she should marry a man of a higher social class who has wealth. Harriet, however, has feelings for Robert Martin. Emma draws her away from him and gets Harriet involved in a series of courtships that are not at all about love. Mr. Elton is more interested in Emma. Frank Churchill is secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax. All Harriet gets is pain, and eventually she must learn to follow her heart.
Elizabeth Bennet quickly develops a strong prejudice against Mr. Darcy while her sister Jane falls in love with Mr. Bingley. Mr. Bingley returns Jane's affection at first but then apparently decides, at the urging of his sister, that he must marry someone who is of a higher social class and has more money. Mr. Darcy's aunt is similarly prejudiced against Elizabeth. However both sisters marry in the end, learning that things are not always as they seem and that money is secondary to love.
We can see from these summaries that the lessons the three young women learn are certainly applicable today, for women are still faced with the choices of love, social standing, and money, and they must decide what is right in the end.