There she meets the somewhat pedantic clergyman Henry Tilney and the histrionic Isabella Thorpe, who encourages Catherine in her reading of Gothic fiction. Allen, her neighbors in Fullerton, invite her to spend some time with them while vacationing in the English town of Bath.
When Catherine reaches her destination she is disappointed to find a thoroughly modern building, completely lacking in hidden passageways, concealed dungeons, and the like.
Thus, Catherine is the first to understand that General Tilney, although not a murderer, is cruel and mercenary. Major Themes While ostensibly a burlesque of the conventional modes of Gothic horror fiction, Northanger Abbey is also a novel of education that focuses on the theme of self-deception.
In addition to its parodic elements, Northanger Abbey also follows the maturation of Catherine Morland, a naive eighteen-year-old, ignorant of the workings of English society and prone to self-deception.
Other characters in the novel serve to balance the work.
Influenced by her reading of novels rife with the overblown qualities of horror fiction, Catherine concocts a skewed version of reality by infusing real people, things, and events with terrible significance.
Critics have traditionally seen the work as part novel of society, part satire of popular Gothic fiction, and therefore not a coherent whole. Detractors, focusing on the work as a parody, have found its plot weak, its characters unimaginative and superficial, and its comedy anticlimactic due to its reliance on an outmoded style of fiction.
Some scholars have observed occasional lapses in her narrative technique of a sort thatdo not appear in later novels. At the climax of the novel, General Tilney—whom Catherine suspects of having murdered or shut up his wife somewhere in the abbey—turns the heroine out after learning that she does not come from a wealthy family.
This ironic aspect of the novel alludes to a larger theme in the work, that of the moral significance of social conventions and conduct—a subject that Austen explored in greater detail in later novels.
General Tilney, who proves to be not a murderer, but rather an individual of questionable moral and social character, eventually gives his consent to the marriage after learning that his daughter Eleanor is also engaged—to a wealthy Viscount.
In addition, critics have considered Northanger Abbey a transitional work, one that moves away from the burlesque mode of the Juvenilia and toward the stylistic control of such masterpieces as Mansfield Park and Emma.
At the close of the novel, the outraged Henry proposes marriage to Catherine, now divested of her delusions by Henry and his sister Eleanor. Others, while conceding the lack of an easily discernable organizing principle, argue that the work is i unified on the thematic level as not merely a satire of popular fiction, but also an ironic presentation of a self-deceived imagination that is quixotically wrong about reality but right about human morality.
In contrast, several other characters in the novel are presented as pastiches of stock Gothic characters—Isabella and General Tilney, for example, are parodies of the damsel and the domestic tyrant.
Austen portrays Catherine as an inversion of the typical Gothic heroine, making her neither beautiful, talented, nor particularly intelligent, but rather ordinary in most respects.
By far the greatest debate surrounding Northanger Abbey, however, is the question of its aesthetic unity.Northanger Abbey Jane Austen The following entry presents criticism of Austen's novel Northanger Abbey ().
See also, Jane Austen Criticism, Pride and Prejudice Criticism, and Mansfield Park Criticism. This essay will discuss the role of friendship in Northanger Abbey by examining the different types of friendships between Catherine Morland, Isabella Thorpe and Eleanor.
Northanger Abbey Essay. BACK; NEXT ; Writer’s block can be painful, but we’ll help get you over the hump and build a great outline for your paper.
Essay on Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey The Female Bildungsroman Like other Jane Austen novels, such as Emma or Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey’s primary trajectory is the development of the main female character.
Northanger Abbey study guide contains a biography of Jane Austen, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a. Northanger Abbey essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.Download