Jane Austen is the first great woman writer in English and, arguably, England’s first great novelist. She is one of those literary artists, who not only laid the foundation of novel, but also give it to a new direction. A supremely comic writer and moralist, Austen redefines novel as a delicate instrument to reveal human nature. She is one of the few novelists in the world literature who is regarded as a “classic” and yet is widely read. She wrote six major novels, however, only four novels were published during her life time that established her reputation in literary circle anonymously. Her earliest novel Northanger Abbey and last completed novel Persuasion were the novels which were not published during her life-time. The two novels were …show more content…
Catherine Morland, the young protagonist of the novel has been heavily influenced by these gruesome ideas, yet is entranced by them. She mingles her Gothic imagination in real life and sees everything in the same view, but later Austen makes her realize that evil lies not in buildings and their surroundings, but in the hearts of men. She was trying to reveal that everyday domestic situations have their own horrors; that oppression often takes place within the home, and that real life can be all too ‘Gothic’ for some people. She forces Catherine to realize the difference between illusion and reality, and forces upon her the real evil of the seventeenth century; the overbearing, selfish, and materialistic patriarchal figure. Walter Anderson, a critic remarks that Northanger Abbey presents a struggle between “fatuous imaginings” and “common, sensible pleasures in reading,” in which Austen “intends her work . . . to compete with and ultimately outstrip Gothic romances” (Anderson 1984, …show more content…
As Catherine; a young woman's mind can be easily influenced by such things. Her near-obsession reflects that of the society of her time. Through using Gothic themes and motifs, Austen creates an effective atmosphere but rather than creating a horrific and mysterious story from them, she clearly depicts the effects the genre had on young women during their time of writing. She shows the societal opinion of the Gothic, her own opinion of Gothic novelists, and how the genre can influence one's imagination. For Catherine, Northanger Abbey symbolizes an imagined ideal. As soon as she enters the abbey, she begins to think of herself as the heroine of a Gothic novel. Unlike Bath, which is simply a pleasant tourist town, the Abbey is a place of mystery and perhaps even adventure, at least in Catherine's mind. She makes the mistake of applying Gothic novels to real life situations; for example, later in the novel she begins to suspect General Tilney of having murdered his deceased wife. When the Abbey turns out to be disappointingly normal, Catherine uses her memory of the abbeys from her novel-reading to make it more frightening. She soon learns that the world is not all melodrama and eventually matures and marries a very sensible
Austen now introduces the reader into the lifestyle of Catherine Morland, and how her years have been spent quite different than the made assumption of a heroine. Austen decides on word choice to describe Catherine and her parents, to the complete opposite of what the average hero would be described as. Austen selects his word choice as, “for they [the Morland's] were very plain”, “She had a thin awkward figure, sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair”. The way Austen chooses to describe Catherine is not the common strong, muscular, genius, life changing, hero you hear about on an everyday basis. The image given by Austen on Catherine's appearance is carefully chosen to remain in
This article analyzes the way Austen portrays women in her novels. Kruger mentions that Jane Austen’s work is often deprived by the
Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is frequently described as a novel about reading—reading novels and reading people—while Pride and Prejudice is said to be a story about love, about two people overcoming their own pride and prejudices to realize their feelings for each other. If Pride and Prejudice is indeed about how two stubborn youth have misjudged each other, then why is it that this novel is so infrequently viewed to be connected to Austen’s original novel about misjudgment and reading one’s fellows, Northanger Abbey? As one of Austen’s first novels, Northanger Abbey is often viewed as a “prototype” to her later novels, but it is most often compared to Persuasion (Brown 50). However, if read discerningly, one can see in Pride and
Richardson explains how this confusion was relevant of the historical and cultural context of Austen’s era. Both the Gothic and the sentimental genres were regularly criticised for influencing readers to project fictional elements into real life. As Richardson explains, the Gothic was singled out for condemnation through its ‘thematics of female constraint and persecution and its fictive indulgence in forbidden lusts and passions, and the sentimental novel, with its ideal or ‘romantic’ picture of life and its over-valuation of erotic love as the key to female happiness (Richardson 2005:399). This projection is reflected in Northanger Abbey when Catherine is invited to Northanger Abbey: ‘Northanger Abbey! These were thrilling words, and wound up Catherine’s feelings to the highest point of ecstasy’ ( Austen pp.99-100). The use of ‘ecstasy’ reflects Catherine’s excessive personality and self-transcendence. Catherine’s gothic idealist vision of the abbey and her pursuit of pleasure, signifies her lack of self-directedness in which she dismisses her own control of life and puts herself in the position of the gothic heroine as portrayed in her reading of Radcliffe’s ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’. The prominent role of ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’ in Northanger Abbey is highly symbolic in representing Austen’s concerns of the excesses of sensibility and the gothic and how they can distort the reader’s interpretation of life. Barker-Benfield (p.111) highlights how ‘Radcliffe’s Mysteries typically hinted at its apparent dangers but continued to convey its tenets. And no one could prevent readers from identifying with figures the author intended as warnings against sensibility’s ‘excesses’.
From my point of view, Jane Austen should be seen as a ‘feminist’ writer. As she wrote in one of her novel Persuasion, she considers that ‘Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything’ (Anne Elliot, in Jane Austen’s Persuasion). Such feminist ideas are expressed in many of her literary works. In her another novel Northanger Abbey, there are various issues discussed, which include not only marriage, social criticism and Gothic, but also feminism as well. The essay is to discuss Jane Austen and her feminist thoughts by analyzing Northanger Abbey.
The disorderly atmosphere of Wuthering Heights, generated by Heathcliff’s raucous behavior causes Catherine to gravitate towards a more uncivilized and mannerless version of herself. Several times, Catherine snaps at others and throws furious tantrums, as she scolds and even slaps Nelly for cleaning in Edgar’s prescence. The rambunctious setting of Wuthering Heights conjures a different Catherine, where, “to pracise politeness...would only be laughed at,” influencing her to act on rebellious
In Northanger Abbey, Austen highlights the dangers of an educated woman and demonstrates through Catherine that to be ignorant is far more beneficial. On a walk with Henry and Eleanor Tilney, Catherine feels out of place as the they begin to talk about a subject she is unfamiliar with, drawing. She becomes heartily ashamed of her ignorance, but the narrator says: “Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant... A woman especially, if she has the misfortune of knowing any thing, should conceal it as well as she can” (124). The narrator comments that a woman should conceal her knowledge as best as she can because it is not a woman’s place to be well-informed.
Catherine is so wrapped up in her fictional world of reading that she becomes ignorant of her real life issues with Henry Tilney, for whom she has been love-struck since their introduction. She entertains herself with wild imaginings about his life and family. Catherine's imaginings foreshadow her eager desire for mischief as Austen's story develops. Catherine is endowed with a vivid imagination, but she has not yet learned to use it in concert with her perception, especially in understanding the interactions between people.
Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey establishes the inner feeling of a woman based on her own personal experience which provides a vivid glance into her perspective. Correspondingly, it reinstates Gothic novels as an reflection marginalized by the experiences of women living in the upper class. For contemporary modern day, Northanger Abbey functions as a warning, depicting the danger of amorous and sexual exploitation from the opportunistic characters within a social environment. These dangers are a realistic theme even in today's society marking potential threat for women. Mostly importantly, it serves as a device that's depicts the social separation between the companionship of woman and the inhuman acknowledgement of women as objects, which fosters the necessarily development for both men and
Much to Catherine’s pleasure, she has a walk scheduled with her sweetheart, Henry Tilney, and her dearest friend, Eleanor Tilney. However, on the morning of the walk, it rains. Austen uses the rain to foreshadow the upcoming unpleasant events. In the afternoon, the rain subsides leaving a muddy mess. Unexpectedly, Isabella Thorpe, John Thorpe, and James Morland arrive at her house. They request that Catherine go along on their trip to neighboring cites. However, Catherine feels obligated to stay in the house and await Henry Tilney and Eleanor Tilney. In his typical self-centered manner, John Thorpe declares that he saw Tilney engaging in other activities, “I saw him at that moment turn up the Lansdown Road, - driving a smart-looking girl” (Austen 53). Although perplexed as to why the Tilneys did not send word that their engagement should be broken, she consents to the proposed carriage ride. While riding out of her neighborhood, Catherine spots Eleanor and Henry Tilney walking towards her house. Catherine, exclaims, “Pray, pray stop, Mr. Thorpe. - I cannot go on. - I will not go on. - I must go back to Miss Tilney.” (Austen 54). John Thorpe disregarding Catherine’s plea, “laughed, smacked his whip, encouraged his horse, made odd noises, and drove on” (Austen 54). During this scene, Austen magnifies the villainy of John Thorpe by whisking away with innocent Catherine.
Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is essentially the “coming of age” story of Catherine Morland, a sympathetic yet naïve young girl who spends some time away from home at the impressionable age of seventeen. As Catherine matures in the town of Bath and at Northanger Abbey, she learns to forgo immature childhood fantasies in favor of the solid realities of adult life, thus separating falsehood from truth. This theme is expressed in a couple of ways, most obviously when Catherine’s infatuation with Gothic novels causes her to nearly ruin her relationship with Henry Tilney: her imagination finally goes too far, and she wrongly suspects General Tilney of murdering his late wife. The theme is less apparent
Starting from the opening sentence of the book, Catherine is repeatedly described as a heroine: “No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland […] would have supposed her born to be an heroine” (15), “from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine” (17). Furthermore, the plot is filled with experiences that are imagined by her as grand events typical of the Gothic genre, only to end in everyday, normal happenings. These intrusions guide the reader to laugh at Catherine’s naiveté by mocking the way she is swept up by Gothic novels: “And now I may dismiss my heroine to the sleepless couch, which is the true heroine’s portion; to a pillow strewed with thorns and wet with tears” (86). As Katie Halsey puts it: “[it] shows Austen’s amused ability to resist and appropriate for her own purposes what she perceived as ridiculous or unnatural in the writing of others” (Halsey
Set in 1798 England, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is the “coming of age” story of Catherine Morland, a naïve young girl who spends time away from home at the malleable age of seventeen. Catherine’s introduction into society begins when Mr. and Mrs. Allen, her neighbors in Fullerton, invite her to accompany them as they vacation in the English town of Bath. While in Bath, Catherine spends her time visiting newly-made friends, such as Isabella Thorpe, and attending balls and plays. Catherine soon after is introduced to Henry Tilney, a handsome yet mysterious clergyman whom she finds herself attracted to. Catherine also befriends Eleanor
Most novels just want to pull the reader in, and make them forget that they are reading a novel, but Austen does not allow this. The very first line in Northanger Abbey is “No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine” (1). By pointing out that the main character is supposed to be the heroine, Austen draws attention to the fact that this is a novel. However, while Catherine is in fact a heroine, it is also states from the beginning that she does not match the expectations of the average heroine. So right from the beginning, the reader knows that while this is a novel, it is not going to be a typical one. It is in fact, going to parodying and critiquing some common aspects of novels. Austen continues on, and not so subtly points out the ways that Catherine differs from the heroines normally found in novels.
This shows how influential her writing has become throughout the years. Austen’s writing opened the door for other writers to explore romantic literature. “J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, grew up reading Austen, who she described as ‘the pinnacle to which all other authors aspire’” (Redman). She inspires others, not only to write romance, but science fiction like Rowling has done. Her influence on the literature work is is astonishing considering she lived in the 1700’s. Many writers of that time are forgotten by most, but she has lived on way past her death. Austen is taught in high school and college English classes. She has been a huge inspiration for female writers as well. “Jane Austen is now thought of as one of the greatest English authors and considered by many as the first great woman novelist” (Jane Austen [b.1775-d. 1817]). Being considered as one of the first female novelist is a great accomplishment and a huge honor, it is a great shame the “creator” of romance did not get the recognition until after her death. She could have helped develop most extraordinary writers in her