Northanger Abbey and the Bildungsroman

1694 Words Aug 21st, 2005 7 Pages
The Female Bildungsroman Like other Jane Austen novels, such as Emma or Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey's primary trajectory is the development of the main female character. Even though Catherine Morland is not a typical female Bildungsroman, her realizations in who she is and who she is becoming are very evident throughout the novel. Webster's Dictionary defines the Bildungsroman as "a novel which traces the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character towards maturity." In this novel, the main developments of Catherine being traced are the social, psychological, emotional, and intellectual, in addition to her growth as a fully functional lady of society. This paper will focus on …show more content…
Now he has made her look like a fool, which causes her to be indifferent to him for the remainder of their acquaintance. "If I could not be persuaded into doing what I thought wrong, I never will be tricked into it." So when asked again to take a ride with John, Catherine responds "If I am wrong, I am doing what I believe to be right." The sternness in her ability to make the right choices for herself is now solidified. She no longer needs to pacify others wants or requests. Through experience, Catherine is growing out of her innocence and naivety. Isabella Thorpe is not that much different than her brother. As equally as self-absorbed, rude, and lying as he, Isabella takes full advantage of Catherine. Yet why does Catherine not see through Isabella as readily as John? Even though Catherine is a bit suspicious of Isabella's actions and grows tired of her at times, she does not assume that Isabella is like John. For Isabella has something that John lacks, tact. Catherine being very naïve is not able to pick up on the actions of Isabella as readily as those of John, because, like most women, Isabella is very deceiving. Her every word and action has some unstated intention. For instance, Isabella is asked to dance by Captain Tilney, yet declines his request by saying that it is "quite out of the question, her being so preoccupied with thoughts
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