"Mrs. Smith is a unique character type in Austen’s fiction: the superfluous female. Austen uses this character to reflect on a possible tragic life for the heroine while highlighting the plight of the poor widow and her lack of perceived value in the society reflected in Persuasion."
Hall, Lynda A. “A View from Confinement: Persuasion’s Resourceful Mrs. Smith.” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 7.3 (2011).
Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies