The Unnatulation Of Light And Darkness In Jane Austen's Novel Northanger Abbey

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The eyes, when influenced by the mind, are capable of seeing a great many unusual and unnatural things that otherwise do not exist. Brief flashes of light and shadow can create the visual of figures of varying threats from otherwise harmless physical masses. For example, a tree during the day can be picturesque and calming, while at night it can act as the birthplace of terror for unsuspecting eyes. This dichotomy causes unease and curiosity, hallmarks of the uncomfortable and uncanny, as it throws doubt onto what is real and what is simply a trick of the light. Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey, published posthumously in 1818, uses this easy manipulation of sight versus reality paired with a satirical take on the popular Gothic novel to tell the story of the young woman Catherine Morland and her adventures. While on one hand poking fun at the elaborate and fantastical tropes of the Gothic, Austen also highlights exactly how much power they have over the perceptions of the ordinary. Spaces in the novel particularly reflect the uncanny through the influence of Catherine's imagination and belief in what a Gothic space should be, especially her opinions surrounding the Abbey and the late Mrs. Tilney’s Garden Path, as well as her ideas concerning the ambiguous Blaize Castle. To begin, the crown of the…show more content…
Similar to the Abbey, Blaize Castle for Catherine is meant to be a large Gothic masterpiece of mystery and fear. It is supposed to have “broken arches,…false hangings,…(and) trapdoors”, and the absolutely excitement she has “of exploring an edifice like Udolpho, as her fancy represented Blaize Castle to be, was such a counterpoise of good…” that she is even willing to quit fighting to escape what is essentially a kidnapping in order to experience it (69). Furthermore, Catherine has specific expectations of her possible adventure

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