- Fair for Its Day: The novel may sound condescending and unkind to the working-classes by today's standards. This would have been acceptable in the Victorian era. However, even liberal journals considered the High Toryism in the novel too unrealistic.
- Shirley was the sort of book that was reviewed and analysed by intellectual people, who are more likely to sympathise with more liberal causes and therefore criticise the book. Its political sympathisers would be less likely to sound out their approval in print.
- Caroline thinks single women should be allowed to work. This was liberal for its time. However, Charlotte Brontė's friend, Mary Taylor, told her off for being too cowardly not to say that all women, single or married, should work.
- Marty Stu: Louis Moore. It's said he's kind, intellectual and well-liked and well-spoken, but this is not shown in the novel.