Northanger Abbey Character Analysis

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The societal expectation for young women includes marriage, class, and moral sense during the 18th century. Women looking for an engagement, must uphold high standards with strong morals as well as pureness in both body and mind. Jane Austen depicts the main characters of her novels as being strong individuals in the midst of these societal standards. These significant morals in Northanger Abbey, influence the characters, such as Catherine and Isabella, in how they make their decisions. Additionally, the main character Catherine Morland, a young lady, learns the ways of presenting herself in the best light possible. Plots of deception from Isabella, to assumptions made by General Tilney, establishes the wavering relationships amongst the characters…show more content…
and Miss Tilney develop with good intentions, yet her immaturity changes the dynamics to a more doting relationship. In both instances when Catherine meets the Tilneys for the first time, she has a polite and conversational tone, but Catherine also “was desirous of being acquainted with [Miss Tilney]” (Austen 50). In Catherine’s meeting of the Tilneys, she possesses an element of her immaturity, as her emotions and attention scatter back and forth between the Tilneys and the Thorpes. Her attachments to both women, Isabella Thorpe and Miss Tilney, display Catherine’s childlike admiration and naive adoration. Her fixation on an older, polished figure grabs her attention and becomes a figure to look up to in Catherine’s mind. In the argument of the argument of Waldo Glock, a professor at New Mexico State University, he refers Catherine to have an “impressionable mind occasionally interpret[ing] scenes at Bath in the light of her reading of Gothic romance" (33). Her books influence her character and actions, as she makes decisions based on what she has read in her gothic novels. Like a child, her stories influence her day to day experiences, establishing her immaturity, as she looks for role models to mirror in her life around, like such social…show more content…
In Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor, he states, “The dialogue between old texts and new is always going...intertextual dialogue deepens and enriches the reading experience, bringing multiple layers of meaning to the text” (29). Foster establishes how literature’s movement continuously flows from one text to another, as each text influences the other, developing similarly yet different stories. These connections from one text to another allows for further understanding of the characters and setting. In Northanger Abbey, Austen states, “The wind roared down the chimney, the rain beat in torrents against the windows” (Austen 158). The element of suspense and the gloomy weather connect to a concurrent idea of gothic literature, which plays into Catherine Morland’s perception of the Abbey and its mysteries. Additionally, with the intertextuality, the elements of darkness and torrential weather also state the influence of gothic novels, not just in the mindset of Catherine, although these dramatic events do not have a significant role in Northanger Abbey unlike other gothic novels that use the mystery and suspense as a

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