Although described as being plain, awkward, and occasionally stupid Catherine Morland, the main character in Northanger Abbey, will later become a heroine when she gets older. The author, Jane Austen, tells a story of a young Catherine who doesn’t resemble any of the characteristics of what heroines are thought to be, she lacks in artistic and academic ability, she doesn’t have a good family background, and she is not very good looking. Throughout the story Jane Austen uses literary devices such as contrast, description, and irony to effectively describe the main character, Catherine Morland.
The story begins with a description of Catherine Morland's family background. Her dad is a clergyman (priest) who was a “very respectable man,” “had never been handsome, “and had “two good livings.” While Catherine’s mother had ten children, a “good constitution,” and “useful plain sense.” The description that each of the parents were given capture an image of the Morland family just being an ordinary family that lacks in looks, personality, and fortune. The fact that the Morland family was large might have made it hard for Catherine to be anything but a regular person. The parents probably were too busy to give Catherine their time of the day and interfered with her destiny to become the heroine when she was young.