Northanger Abbey Research Paper

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As in all of Austen’s works there are overarching themes and symbols, as in most literary works these play a key role in how we as readers understand the characters and their context. Northanger Abbey is no exception. Austen’s first novel depicts a young women named Catherine who is captivated by the world of Gothic novels, so much so that she creates her own reality that reflects her beloved novels. In these depictions she turns her daily life into haunting tales of deceit, terror and debauchery. Perhaps her most ridiculous fantasy is that of Northanger Abbey itself, Northanger symbolizes mystery, discovery and disappointment. Catherine’s entire existence seems to rely on these three principles. She reads for mystery, she lives her daily life…show more content…
It could even be surmised that Catherine was more excited about the Abbey than the company of her “beloved” Tilney. She first thinks of the “long, damp passages, its narrow cells and ruined chapel.” She draws this conclusion with no background to draw from, then in true Catherine style “she could not entirely subdue the hope of some traditional legends, some awful memorials of an injured and ill-fated nun”.(Page 96) Her desire to be enraptured in the world of make believe she throws away reason. When she does finally arrive at the Abbey Catherine is struck with disappointment, “and driven so rapidly along a smooth, level road, without obstacle, alarm or solemnity of any kind, struck her as odd and inconsistent.” (Page 110). Though the abbey does not live up to her expectations she does not lose hope that there is a mystery to be solved, she harkens back to her discussion with Isabella, the mysterious death of Henry’s mother. This drives her to explore parts of the Abbey that she was discouraged to enter, she is exploring, blazing to discover some terrible truth about the people she cared for when she is caught by Henry. He describes the “forbidden” room as cheerful and lighthearted, and in true Tilney fashion he reads Catherine’s disappointment “Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained.” (Page 136) He does not

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