Gothic Criticism Of Northanger Abbey

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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen was published back in the early nineteenth century, around the time the popularity of gothic literature was peaking according to The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Northanger Abbey is a constructive parody of the conventional gothic novel. In her novel, Austen pokes at gothic tropes which allows the reader to understand how exaggerated gothic themes were by mocking the traditional styles which made up a gothic novel. One way in which Austen satirized the common tropes of gothic in her novel was in the beginning with her introduction of the protagonist Catherine Morland. Generally, in gothic novels, the heroines are portrayed with beauty beyond words as well as the purest form of innocence that is beyond regular human comprehension. In Northanger Abbey Catherine Morland is the exact opposite. Austen described her as having "a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without color, dark lank hair, and strong features" (Austen 7). Catherine is not the stereotypical heroine from any typical gothic novel as she did not have any of that unnatural beauty. The type of person she wants to be is not the person she is. Growing up, Catherine always went against the norms of her society. She played with boys and enjoyed activities that were suited for boys, deviating from the acceptable behavior that befitted a woman in the early nineteenth century (Austen 7). Her likings followed that of a boy instead of a young lady, who, at the time,
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