I find this description of Catherine very interesting. By all accounts, it seems as if the narrator is describing the young girl as “undesirable.” She doesn’t fit the mold that young girls are supposed to fit into at her age. It seems that we are to be somewhat put off of this 10 year old. (However, Catherine isn’t entirely discredited, as our narrator does say she learned a fable “as quickly as any girl in England.”) To me, it seems as if Catherine is just, what we would consider today, a “tom-boy.” I gleaned this from the “She was fond of all boy’s plays” line, but the other pieces of information offered about her also lead me to this conclusion. I wonder if Austen was again experimenting with the idea of perceived gender roles and testing the limits she could push when writing about them. (Of course Catherine does grow into what a desirable woman would be like when she reaches 15 — maybe it was just puberty!)
It was very interesting how Austen explained why no one would think that Catherine was a heroine. She states that Catherine’s father was respectable man who did not neglect or lock up his daughters, her mother “was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and…a good constitution” who did not die in childbirth, and that Catherine had many siblings. The family was “in general very plain”, along with Catherine. Why do you think that Austen started off the book with a long description of how boring and utterly normal Catherine’s life was? It feels like she might have done this in a reference to how many other heroines had some sort of tragic or otherwise interesting background. I wonder if Austen was trying to make some sort of statement about the other heroines that she’s read about. Maybe she was just trying to make Catherine relatable to the people who read this book. Whatever she was trying to say, it is a somewhat unusual way to start a book, and therefore something that should be thought about in more depth.
I’m including a link to “The Hare and Many Friends” by John Gay.
The poem was probably included by Austen because it refers to the maternal qualities that Catherine possesses when taking care of these wild animals that she finds to rescue. “Her care was, never to offend, and ev’ry creature was her friend.” (Gay, 11-12); she is looking out for the wildlife, however big or small. I wonder how this plays into what happens to her later. I imagine the inclusion of this poem and the mentions of her heroics rescuing animals has some baring on the foreshadowing of a later event. She also really seems to enjoy the hero role and I’m wondering how that will be taken from her or if that quality will also be reduced by another character later.
Gay, John. “The Hare with Many Friends”. Bartleby. <http://www.bartleby.com/332/394.html>
Gee, this sounds familiar. A similar character trait was attached to Eliza from “Henry & Eliza” and we know how that turned out. Making a character virtuous and sweet in the beginning is another sign that she may become rebellious or do something that is completely against her nature and type. I automatically think that Austen does this because she is going to make the character do something completely different from what we expect when she sets up the kindness and good temperament description for her women. Whatever it is I see some major twists and mood shifts incoming for Catherine’s personality.
In this second paragraph we see Catherine is growing up and getting a bit of fashion sense according to Austen. Catherine seems like any other young girl growing up, starting off playing in the dirt and not caring about things like doing her hair to be pretty. Catherine is now getting older, and is perhaps realizing the important about being presentable. Catherine also seems to know that she was not a pretty girl and now she is aware of ways to help this. Catherine also seems to enjoy hearing every so often, “she is almost pretty today”.
Yes, Jess, Austen is trying to make a statement about what one expects from a heroine, and she gets that from all of her novel reading.
A tom-boy, indeed, but one that still has to look like a young lady.
Good catch, Victoria. “Almost pretty.” Aack!
It’s great that you are comparing the Juvenilia with Northanger Abbey.
It surprises me that Austen chooses to describe Catherine this way. By saying Catherine had “a think awkward figure..” and by describing her as very plain she comes across to us as an ugly tomboy (excuse my harsh words) that no one desires. However in Austen’s other writings, such as the History of England, we know that Austen has a tendency to favor beautiful elegant woman. Why would Austen have her main character be someone completely different than who she normally favors. Perhaps she is trying to portray Catherine as a very normal and average girl, rather than a queen of sorts like her women in History of England? I also find it interesting how she describes Catherine as having “sallow skin without colour” when in Jack and Alice there is a big argument between Lady Williams and Alice about how prettier women don’t have colour and that a paler complexion is preferred. It’s interesting to read these small contrasts between her different writings.
I just want to quickly point out how much I love these couple of lines here. They sound exactly like the young sarcastic Jane Austen that we have grown to love from reading the Juvenilia throughout this course. You can tell that Austen is already mocking the conventional roles of heroines and heroes in the romance genre. Firstly, Catherine, as we have learned from the beginning of this first chapter, does not fit the typical description of a heroine. But, despite her somewhat tomboyish personality, Catherine must have been destined to find a man because she is the heroine of this story. It is full of irony and humor and I love it. I cannot wait to see where this goes!
I found this paragraph to be interesting. It reminded me a lot of “Kitty, or the Bower, especially near the end of the piece. Austen mentioned ” There was not one family among their acquaintance who had reared and supported a boy accidentally found at their door”(14-15). Where as in “Kitty, or the Bower” Kitty’s neighbor came looking for her one day, knocking on her door. I find it interesting how this Catherine is almost the total opposite of Kitty, in “Kitty, or the Bower” she was not very much into reading, or art; where as Kitty was. So, was this paragraph actually in any relation at all to her other story.
Great insight, Rachael. You are using what you learned to figure out what Austen’s doing with Catherine. She isn’t a queen or a lady. She is average, and she is still our heroine.
Absolutely, Kristen. Austen is mocking conventions again!
It’s a good idea to compare our two Catherines, or Kitties. Catharine (from The Bower story) and Catherine from NA are not the same perhaps, but are there any points of comparison worth noting? Yes! Keep that in mind as you read the novel.
Angela, your comparison of Catherine to Eliza makes me excited to keep reading. What if your predictions come true and we are left with a real scandal on our hands! Do you have anything in mind that Catherine might do to rebel? It’s only chapter I, but perhaps an inkling of anything?
The transition from a young girl to a teenager for Catherine is quick, like turning on a light switch quick. This makes it seem like one day she was dumb and liked playing in the dirt and then the next day she was becoming an “almost pretty” young woman that is obsessed with appearance.
Catherine “read all such works as heroines must read …”. This reminds me of a training montage in movie. She somehow knew she needed to be prepared for what would eventually come and learned what she needed to so that she would be ready.
That is an interesting comparison. I did not make the connection between the two stories before reading your comment, but now I will be on the lookout for similarities.
Interesting that both Catherine and Austen herself have fathers who are clergymen!
In a roundabout sort of way, the narrator basically says that Catherine’s mother is somewhat neglectful. Catherine struggles to find adulthood on her own, and has a taste for things which are not “heroic” but I think it’s meant to be refined. She seems quite athletic! To the narrator this is evidently not as worthy as reading books of information. Fiction, of course, doesn’t count. In other words, she’s remiss in her education. I wonder what changes when she’s fifteen to seventeen? Pressure from friends? Where does this training come from? Do her parents hire a teacher? Or does she just suddenly find all this information on her own?
In “Love and Freindship” also a young man just lands on the doorstep. In the Juvenilia it doesn’t seem at all uncommon for boys to be accidentally found at doors.
Yes! A montage! Excellent insight.
Perhaps one writes of what one knows best?
The role of “mother” in Austen works is a tough one. They seem to fall into a few shapes: 1) neglectful, 2) spunky, or 3) dead.
Maybe she perceives herself as undesirable to others although that may not entirely be the case. It could be that she is still interesting in spite of her imperfections as she seems to be a very nice person and has a very strong maternal instinct underneath any vanity she may have. A good character outweighs conventional looks and she sounds like a lovely person because of the way she looked after animals.
Maybe through establishing that the family is boring was a way to set up and establish how normal their lives are and how drastic, due to the nature of the genre of the graphic novel, their lives will change over the course of events. If they’re this normal and plain at the opening of the novel, things are bound to get stranger and break that pattern of normalcy.
It tells us straight off the bat that although everything is against her, that she perseveres and becomes the heroin of the story. It’ll be very interesting to see how this unfolds as the story goes on!
I felt the same way about this paragraph. It’s amazing how even now, centuries later, we still follow the same type of path and transition once we reach a certain age. If only we had balls to attend though 🙂 that would be amazing. It’s interesting too to see that it is till largely the influence society has on us at that age. It wasn’t proper for her to continue playing in the mud and dirt. as we learned earlier too, with the amount of siblings she has, there must have been extra pressure on her make sure her, “appearances were mending” so she could find a husband and be taken care of. weather her parents ever said this directly to her, i’m certain it was a reality she realized as she grew. I wonder if this will come into play more as we go along?
Mr. Thorpe, for me, is an undesirable character. To me, his character comes across as the equivalent of a modern day guy who can’t handle the fact that he is being “friend zoned.” His actions in regards to not stopping the carriage so that Catherine may see the Tilney’s furthers my dislike for him. I honestly felt anger and upset when he proceeded to encourage his horse onward while Catherine tried in vain to get him to stop. It felt like he was, in a way, violating her. I didn’t appreciate him exercising this control over her, and it made me rather upset. Was this Austen’s opportunity to make the reader dislike Mr. Thorpe and fall more for Henry? If so, it certainly worked for me. I wished so much that she may be able to stop and explain her case to the brother and sister duo.
John Thorpe is really getting on my nerves. He has moments where he shows lots of interest in Catherine and then moments when he can be really ignorant and immature, such as ditching her at the dance and always bribing her with materialistic things. When they first met, he bribed her with his carriage and now he is bribing her with seeing a castle. I wish Catherine had enough nerve to stand up to him and simply tell him that she’s not interested. In this paragraph “Not they indeed,” cried Thorpe; “for, as we turned into Broad Street, I saw them-does he not drive a phaeton with bright chestnuts?”He tries to trick Catherine that Henry is leaving town, in order for her to think her plans for the day are canceled and that she should indeed go with him to see the castle. It bothers me how oblivious Catherine is to John. Can’t she see, he is trying to trick her? I also can’t help but notice John Thorpe seems very similar in spelling to John Thorn. Did Austen do this on purpose? Perhaps to portray his character as being “like an annoying thorn” that Catherine has stuck to her?
I can’t stand Mr Thorpe as a character. Often when reading I put my self in the shoes of the character and I just imagine being Catherine stuck in the carriage with him. It stinks that it is the time period it is where civil conversation is expected, and people can’t really express how they feel, because if I were her I’d want to tell him to just “shut up!”
I agree with you that he was in a way violating her. not physically but more by like you say, exercising his control over her, and not allowing her to have a say. This scene to me makes me look at him as almost a villein in the story. It is clear that he lied, and then overpowered her, disregarding her pleas for him to stop.
I think this could possibly be Austen showing us his true colors, and although I already didn’t like him much, i do not like him at all after this!!
I have to agree with Kelsi, if it was Austen’s goal to make me dislike John Thorpe and like Henry more, she succeeded. I was very disappointed for Catherine agreeing to go in the first place. I was also angry and felt John Thorpe’s actions were not that of a gentlemen at all.
Ah, nice insight, Rachael. He is a thorn in everyone’s sides.
Your insights are right. We are not supposed to like Thorpe. He is a literary antagonist–he poses problems for our protagonist (Catherine) and for the Tilneys.
She’s already wondering if this castle is exactly like the ones found in her Gothic novels. I wonder if she also thinks there are supernatural forces and spectres to be found in these castles as well or if it’s all just fiction.
He is becoming a pest. She doesn’t seem as interested in him as he is of her. We saw the previous chapters where she didn’t want to continue dancing with him although he attempted to force it on her and how he did not want to get in discussions of literature because it bored him. She is only paying attention to him because it would be rude to ignore him or tell him to leave her. Telling him to leave would be unbecoming of a young woman of polite society.
Oh forgive, he wasn’t the same man I’m speaking of from the dance but he’s still very pest-like!
Wow. Austen is already pulling out some of the Gothic cliches here when she writes about Catharine wanting to get to the castle: “or even of having their lamp, their only lamp, extinguished by a sudden gust of wind, and of being left in total darkness.”! A regular gust of wind or a gust of wind caused by the wake of an apparition that has been living in the castle for ages and has woken to greet guest? This type of set-up material for what’s to come is great. I feel like this is exactly what Catharine wishes to happen.
I am thinking that Catherine’s love of reading novels, specifically Gothics, will rather play a large role later on in this story. After all, almost every single chapter has addressed novels to some extent. Austen has made it clear that Catherine loves horror stories–remember, she has said the more horrid a novel is, the better! Her seemingly undivided attention towards the Tilneys is now distracted by the mere prospect of seeing a castle. Plus, our heroine also seems quite naive of the real world in general, especially towards men. I can only hope that Catherine’s head does not get stuck in the clouds and ends up getting herself into trouble!
I am agreeing with everyone about hating Mr. Thorpe. I am seriously enraged while reading this paragraph, especially when Thorpe merely laughed at Catherine as she asked him to stop traveling further. Like…I am so mad right now.
I also agree that this is an act of violation towards Catherine. He is demonstrating control over her, both physically and mentally, which is absolutely disgusting when knowing how inexperienced and trusting Catherine is. Austen has done a wonderful job of making us readers hate Thorpe and like the Tilneys.
I am also not looking forward to Catherine’s explanation to the Tilneys…that is going to be quite an awkward scene.
So…Thorpe seems to believe that the Morlands are quite wealthy. However, Catherine’s response leads us to believe that this isn’t so. Is money the sole reason why the Thorpes have been hanging around with the Morlands so often?
Catherine is torn between going to see a castle that is just like the ones she read about in her novels, or seeing Mr. Tilney and his sister. On the one hand she loves the castles, but seems to be unsure of it because going to the castle also means she must spend the day with Mr. Thorpe, who she clearly is not fond of. Catherine seems to be branching off from her friends and is struggling to decide between her new feelings and doing what people want her to do. I wonder when and if she will eventually branch off from Isabella, and will her brother takes side if this event happens?
As this chapter continues Thorpe just becomes more and more of an undesirable character. I know classmates mentioned in a passage above how Thorpe is becoming an enemy and everything Austen is writing now just confirms that. Catherine is not able to get what she wants from him and it is extremely unfair. And now, on top of his being rude to her, he is insulting her brother and essentially her family as a whole- by attacking their wealth. Catherine seems to eventually give up in discussing the matter with him and her disgust for his character grows stronger.
I wonder how much longer Catherine will put up with all this nonsense before she steps out of her comfort zone and develops as a heroin.
This could be making fun of Catherine, as she compares fiction to her real life situation. It seems a little out of place here, perhaps abrupt and uncalled for. Yet, perhaps it is more that fiction reflects our realities, and Austen is only trying to point this out.
Allie, do you mean the fact that she has a set time at which she plans to experience despair, and another planned time to “give it up entirely”?
Thorpe = Thorn. . .they share the first four letters. . .interesting choice of words, Northangerabbey!
Hearkens loudly of a Gothic novel. . .traveling by night to an old castle?? Deliciously tempting! How can she resist? Oh, maybe the present company . . .
Good question. Also, I wonder if she would be able to enjoy the castle or if the guilt/regret of going and missing Mr. Tilney will spoil it for her. Clearly she enjoys Tilney’s company to that of Thorpe, but the draw of the old, and potentially creepy, castle was enough to tempt her!
Austen might be incorporating some feminist themes here too, not just character development for the antagonist–Catherine is but a poor little female, unable to make Thorpe stop the carriage, despite all her best efforts and threats.
Kristen — I can’t wait for you to finish the novel. Your socks are going to be blown off!
Yes, the Gothic has tempted her.
Yes, this novel is very much about our heroine’s development. What will influence her most? Fantasy or reality?
Plus, you have to wonder whether recent history will repeat itself? The last time Catherine went on a carriage ride with Thorpe and the others she missed seeing Tilney. Is this going to become a trend. For Catherine I think this is really a choice between feeling closer to her novels and waiting for Tilney. I also wonder if Austen wanted Catherine to be choosing between reality (what her heart really wants) and fiction (what she’s currently reading).
As is seen in the beginning of this text, a mention of novels! In this case they are being painted in an unflattering light, this time by one of the characters. (Previously we were told by our narrator how often women who read them would dismiss their novel reading if they were questioned about it.) He quotes novels as being “so full of nonsense and stuff.”(More like enjoyment and stuff!) I do find the way in which Austen has Catherine questioning the male character about his understanding of the novels as quite funny, and clever. She allows the women to take the upper hand for a moment by showing her knowledge of authors and subject. More gender role questioning by the young Austen?
It isn’t surprising. Of course a male character would not enjoy reading novels because it probably is not considered an activity that men enjoy or maybe they’re fearful of doing something that women may enjoy or maybe he is in denial and pretending not to care for reading.
It sounds like this is a setup to attach Isabella to Catherine’s brother which is something that probably will not bode well for their friendship, it may break them apart in the process. Look out for your brother and yourself, Catherine. This girl is going to turn on you, I think.
Well…someone is a bit taken with our heroine! It seems like John Thorpe has quickly shown interest in Catherine. He seems to be talking only to her, even offering her carriage rides every day. But, with the supposed love interest Mr. Tinley out of Bath, who knows what will happen! Then again, even though we have only just been introduced to Isabelle’s brother, he seems quite boastful of himself (and his horse, of course). Do you think John Thorpe demonstrates signs of being a hero? Or, do you think the mysterious Mr. Tinley will be the hero of this story?
Also, because of young Austen’s satirical nature, how could the characterizations of both Mr. Tinley and John Thorpe be commentary on men in romance/gothic literature?
I find the moment when Catherine tells him that Udolpho was written by Radcliffe incredibly hilarious, especially after Mr. Thorpe has spent a lot of time complimenting himself and his horse. It seems like he is quite a egotistical character…maybe Catherine will help calm him down a bit?
I was not surprised with the defense against novels during this scene, especially since there was the novel rant in Chapter V. I do think Austen trying to call out novel haters who believe it is only a foolish, mind numbing activity for women. It does helps her case when the opponent, someone like John Thorpe, is outwitted by a young lady such a Catherine. I am curious to see how the role of novels and gender roles play throughout this story.
I apologize for all of the grammatical errors…During my excitement over the content, I accidentally clicked submit before I could correct them!
Once again Jane Austen’s feminist side is showing through in her work. “… civility and deference of the youthful female mind, fearful and hazarding an opinion of its own in opposition to that of a self-assured man, especially where the beauty of her own sex is concerned…” (Austen, 10). Even though Catherine wants to discuss the matters along with Isabella she still seems to become uncomfortable with the subject at times- hence her changing the subject at the end. Is this novel really going to be a romance? Or is it going to be a true heroin story (where a man is not involved)? Will it be about the friendship with Catherine and Isabella? Or Catherine maturing and growing up? So many different routes that can be taken with this story already, and it’s just the beginning still.
I agree! I believe Austen is setting this up to touch friendship, relationships, and the equalities between genders! All the things she seems so passionate about and that has been shown through most of her work.
Didn’t even read it! Ah, what an expert on the book!
I think the section in the middle paragraphs where the two men are having a disagreement about the distance they have traveled is an amazingly well written back and forth conversation.
…I just realized his name is Mr. Tilney, not Tinley…listen, if Mr. Tilney wants me to remember his name, he better not leave our heroine–or the story–again!
[ Everybody acquainted with Bath may remember the difficulties of crossing Cheap Street at this point;]
I always find it interesting how much Austen relates the setting and places of her stories in places where readers may have gone themselves. Like we read earlier in the semester, she called for accuracy when it came to portraying real places. this whole paragraph after this does a great job of setting the feel of Bath at midday even if the reader has never been there.
It seems as if John Thorpe is the kind of person to tell stories even if people don’t want to hear them. He seems to be boasting at length, without leaving his listener a moment to answer a question when asked. Instead he pays himself the complement.
This is a lovely sort of moment. Catherine says she does not know, and immediately afterwards the narrator informs us that she does! So does this mean that Catherine is feigning interest in order to strike up conversation with Thorpe? Is she interested in him?
“And and” a typo, or a mistake in the original text?
Thorpe really futzed that up. He’s doing something which many of us still do today– pretend to know about something to carry on a conversation, and to not be embarrassed. Oh, but he was wrong, so he has to save himself by calling things stupid! How very mature. This is hilarious.
“I’m pretending to know things! Be impressed by me!”
I know we’ve already been on about how ridiculous this guy is, but he really, really is. He tells his mother that her hat makes her look like an old witch? How nice. It seems to me that Mrs. Thorpe has been overly adoring and indulgent, and has ended up with a somewhat spoiled child (or two) as a result.
Oh and also he says his sisters look ugly? Wow! What a jerk!
He loves to do that!
Ha ha. You don’t know how many papers I have graded where students called him Tinley.
I’ve spoken of the portrayal of friendships that Austen has shown before in her juvenilia. It does not fail that she portrays these two young women as the closest of friends. What I find particularly interesting is the line that reads “men think us incapable of real friendship…” I have questioned before the remarkable speed in which females in Austen’s writing tend to become friends. I stopped here to ponder the idea that perhaps men don’t find the women’s friendships to be real because they are made so fast. Of course this is Austen’s own writing, so that idea may be my own interpretation and not what Austen meant to say at all. My only other theory on this bit is perhaps men did not find the friendships to be real because women spent their time (in a mans opinion!) not doing things of much substance, and how can women create a friendship based off of “nothing?”
You should not forget the lessons learned from the Juvenilia. Right on. We should question fast friendships.
Austen is establishing this as a gothic novel through referencing other gothic novels that the characters are reading. These all sound like they involve scary castles and ghosts, all markings and tropes of the genre and perhaps Austen flaunting her inspirations for this novel as well?
Yes! I think it’s also suspicious that she is resting on and is confident of her loyalties to others. Clearly these loyalties are made to be broken and contradicted. There’s something that Isabella will ultimately do to hurt or blackmail Catherine in the end.
It is really strange how Isabella wants to dress like Catherine here and this statement sends some red flags. She is either envious, jealous or obsessed with her friend on some level.
In this paragraph we see Catherine and Isabella have escape the two men who seemed to be watching them. Now they are set off in the hopes to casually cross paths with them again. Once again I think we are seeing the very normal actions of two young girls. Austen was a feminist writer and we read Isabella plan to not pay the men any respect. Isabella was not wanting to pay the men any respect, but yet seems to mean to tease them in the process.
This comment makes me think that Austen is foreshadowing future events, or perhaps giving the reader an insight on Isabella’s past. The conversation between the two girls make it seem as though Isabella is trying to hide what has happened in the past, and that she doesn’t want to trouble Catherine with anything- at least as of right now. A classmate posted in a previous comment that she thinks Isabella will ultimately betray Catherine and perhaps this is the beginning of that. Austen leaves the reader hanging by quickly switching the subject that the two girls were talking about and returning to their books. Is Austen meaning to leave the reader hanging? Am I as a reader just looking too far into the text, or is Austen showing us what is to come of the story?
So, the weather is the most urgent thing she has to tell her friend? Oh, the humor!
Sounds like an excuse to see the men again, disguised as indifference!
Well, they can’t play ” hard to get” if they aren’t at least around the men a little!
I’m glad someone else picked up on this part as well! It’s amazing to me how fast Austen chooses to form friendships in her writing, and this definitely isn’t the first novel where two strangers become best friends within a couple hours. For example, Lady Williams and Lucy in Jack and Alice became best friends very quickly and now Isabelle and Catherine. I liked your point about how men don’t see women as being capable of friendships because of how fast they make them. Honestly I think you’re on to something there because it does seem odd how fast women from Austen’s writing form friendships based off “nothing” as you put it. Very interesting!
I also found this paragraph comical, Heidi. Isabella has a “hundred things to say,” the most important of which revolves around the rain? It just seems silly! Isabella and Catherine’s relationship reminds me of Camilla and Kitty’s relationship in Kitty, or the Bower. Isabella wants to talk about easy things, such as the weather. While Isabella does seem to be much more intelligent than Camilla was, I can think of many other ways in which Kitty and Camilla (Kitty, or the Bower) reflect Catherine and Isabella (Northanger Abbey). Knowing that Austen changed Kitty’s name to Catherine, I wonder whether or not Northanger Abbey’s Catherine is based on the same character as Kitty, or the Bower’s Kitty?
[There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong.]
This goes along with the theme of friendship we have examining in Austen’s Juvinalea. I wonder how this will unfold as the story goes on. How will we see Isabella’s character evolve? Will this fierce friendship stay that way?
One of the things that struck me in one of the earlier chapters was how it is noted that Isabella likes clergymen, and something about how Catherine should have cottoned on then. I think this is referring in a way to the girlfriend rule– you don’t touch your friend’s crushes! So I think you are right, that Isabella will betray Catherine, and possibly even by “stealing” Mr. Tilney.
I’m with you there. It sounds as though she’s pretending she’s not interested in the young men, but then she states one of them is quite handsome, then suggests going on a route which will take the two ladies past them. She’s not concealing her intentions well.
Once again, I’m with Heidi. Isabella in particular is being very coy, and she’s dragging Catherine along with her!
NA is in some respect a parody, so she is flaunting and mocking.
Oh, Isabella wants these men to look at her, right?
John’s continued barrage of Catherine is growing increasingly annoying. It is so obvious how much she does not want his affections! She never purposely encouraged them (only was a polite lady) and still tries to shirk them when they are brought about. Austen seems to be way ahead of her times in this regard (or maybe men really have always, and will always, be the same…?) John just can’t take “no” for an answer! I wonder if Austen had ever faced a similar suitor and this inspired the character of Mr. Thorpe? Or was this something that many women faced in this time period? The latter because of the expectation of being married to who was deemed the best, rather than based on love and attraction. I also have to speak to the fact that Isabella pushing her brother onto her friend is another source of my frustration. I understand that balancing your kin and your best friend would be challenging; but why are the siblings so relentless? Austen certainly knows how to rile me!
The friendship between Catherine and Isabelle is very strong, as they are pretty much sisters. It is amazing how close friendships can be in Austen’s writings. Catherine admitted that she did not have feelings for Isabelle’s brother after all this time. Isabelle has always encouraged her brother and Catherine to be together.
Isabelle throughout this whole novel has been quick to jump the gun, usually speaking and acting without sometimes thinking of others. It is powerful how now after hearing Catherine, Isabelle is all understanding and wants what is best for her. As stated “why should a brother’s happiness be dearer to me than a friend’s”, as Isabelle’s “notions of friendship [are] pretty high”.
Here in this section we see a clear difference between Catherine and Isabella. Catherine is good and modest, whereas Isabella admits to, not being one to judge the occasional flirting. We see that Isabella admits to flirting and see it as harmless. We see that Isabella believes it is okay for one to change their mind daily. I wonder if Isabella is changing her mind on her engagement to Catherine’s brother.
The developing relationship between Isabella and Captain Tilney is a bit worrying. It seems that from Catherine’s perspective Isabella does not really know what she is doing, but I kind of feel like Catherine’s judgment of Isabella is not as accurate as it could be. Isabella strikes me as somewhat petty and a bit manipulative when she wants to be, and I think that Catherine is too fond of her friend to really see what is going on. I wonder what this development between Isabella and Captain Tilney will mean for the plot of the story. I don’t think that it can mean anything good!
I agree that John Thorpe’s continued pursuit of Catherine is getting to be annoying. I find one of the more annoying things about their relationship in the story is Isabella’s relentless pushing for John and Catherine to be together. Clearly not a good friend, she cannot even see that her friend does not want to be with John.
Yes! She even says “As certainly never meant to encourage it.” mentioning that she does not even know why she has incited this obsession of pursuit with him that she cannot stop. It’s frightening how he will not leave Catherine alone and how confused it seems to make her in comparison. Sometimes the wrong people become attracted and I have to wonder how his obsessive fondness for her will contribute to the events later in the novel.
Yes. Catherine is the level headed one while and Isabelle is the idyllic young woman who seems to have aspirations of love and wanting to be in love. This may be a contrast between what Austen wants in her novel heroines and how most authors write their heroines. Catherine is challenging the status quo of what it means to be a woman of society while Isabelle maintains it.
Is this a commentary from Austen on men being visual lovers while women think with their hearts? I feel that it is. “We hate not hearts, we have eyes” is a statement that supports this idea, willing to admit that men enjoy the visible looks of a woman to their minds, which is quite bold. Maybe she’s trying to say that men are not as loving or as considerate as women are? Maybe that women are more empathetic of others and can read better on an emotional level? I think this is an interesting statement to find here and more than a bit progressive in its thinking.
I called it earlier on that Isabelle’s manipulative personality would somehow lead to a rift in her relationship with Catherine; Now we’re actually seeing it in action. She seems to like stealing things important to Catherine (Her brother, her love interest).
I’m just glad Catherine is finally speaking up for herself more so than she did in the beginning of the novel! I wonder if it’ll eventually cause a divide between the two friends.
Earlier in the novel Isabella and Catherine have a conversation about betraying friends and relationships and it definitely was foreshadowing. Now it seems that Austen is finally showing this betrayal starting between the two girls. Perhaps Isabella will not end up with James after all, she made it clear that flirting was harmless a few passages up. And with Catherine finally growing as a character, Isabella might not be able to get away with it as she did earlier. With Isabella’s constant mention of money now (after seeing how little the Morland’s can give) maybe Captain Tilney is becoming more “attractive” to her. He can offer her everything she wants- except for love.
I agree with your suspicion that Isabelle could end up changing her intentions with Catherine’s brother. After all, it was pretty clear that Isabelle was very disappointed when Isabelle and James’ father when he only granted the couple a mere four-hundred pounds annually after a couple of years when the marriage takes place. Plus, the wondering eyes of Isabelle during the beginning of this chapter leads my gut to believe that she was looking for someone, perhaps a man other than James Morland.
I don’t know if I am being too cynical here, but I don’t feel like Isabelle is really talking about Catherine and John during this paragraph.
I believe that Isabelle will end up leaving Catherine’s brother because the Morlands are not as wealthy as she once believed (see my above comments). So, I feel like this speech is Isabelle’s way of saying “I am not at all upset with you for not being interested in John because it will not make you happy…so, do not be upset with me when I break up with your brother cause you should only be concerned with my happiness!”
I feel like this point is strengthened by the fact that Isabelle says men are “so amazingly changeable and inconstant” and John would “be just as happy without [Catherine]” a.k.a., James will be a-okay without me, dearest Catherine.
…I knew it.
YES to everything that you said, Kristen! As I read this paragraph I was thinking to myself, ‘where did this sincerity and compassion come from, Isabella?’ Then I thought to myself, is this reverse psychology, and if so, why? It didn’t really cross my mind that Isabella could actually be talking about herself here, but it makes perfect sense! I especially love what you said in the last paragraph. It is completely possible that Isabella is saying these things with her best interest in mine, not Catherine’s. That would answer my question as to why Isabella is all of a sudden “caring” about someone other than herself here (answer: she’s not).
He must enjoy the thrill of the chase more than he actually values her though, based on his actions and interactions with her.
Like accepting marriage proposals, Miss Isabella?
Isabella is most certainly in pursuit of money, and if she does not believe that a union between her brother and Catherine would work because of money, then one has to wonder how a union between her and Morland would fair? I agree that the intends to renege her acceptance of his proposal.
I’m with Kristen. This is so what I had predicted chapters ago, minus the addition of Captain Tilney. I had thought maybe she’d go after Henry! This is another example of Catherin’s incredible naivety.
Looks and the idea of being handsome is a common theme throughout this novel. There always is something wrong, even though a man could be handsome. In this piece Austen described that “I hate a florid complexion and dark eyes in a man”. Austen’s characters are more into the complexion of a man for what their inside looks like, rather than the outside. As stated, “I dare say people would admire him in general” as some men might be loved by all for a specific characteristic, which makes them who they are.
I wonder how this visit will affect Catherine’s view of Henry? She is obviously not of the same social class as the Tilney’s and to have to sit through such an awkward visit must have been hard for her.
In case it wasn’t clear before who Isabella wants Catherine to be with, this response to Catherine’s visit with the Tilney’s makes it obvious that she wants Catherine to be with John Thorpe.
I wonder if General Tilney secretly does not approve of Catherine’s friendship with his children because of her status. Or, maybe General Tilney is just generally (no pun intended) a strict, rigid, and austere military man. This would ultimately explain why Henry and Eleanor behaved the way they did during this scene. After all, we know from their walk with Catherine that the two Tilneys are witty (especially Henry) and personable. So, it makes sense that their father could be the reason behind their lackluster behavior.
Just in the first several passages of Volume 2 it seems that Isabella’s entire character is different. She seems so much aggressive towards Catherine, now that she’s “in” with the family she doesn’t need to hold back any longer.
One thing I find interesting in this particular story is the character of Catherine. Not only is she considered very plain and tomboyish, (in the beginning) she also doesn’t seem to have a lot of confidence in herself. “They retired whispering together…Captain Tilney must have heard some malevolent misrepresentation of her, which he now hastened to communicate to his brother, in the hope of separating the forever, she could not have her partner conveyed from her sight without very uneasy sensations.” In this passage, Catherine continues to worry about what is being said about her and constantly worries about what Henry, Captain Tilney, and the General (Henry’s dad) think about her. The thing I find odd, is that Austen doesn’t usually write about women who have low confidence and self-esteem. She admires beauty, and strong willed women such as many other characters in her stories. What makes this story different in changing the personality of her heroine? Why did Austen design Catherine to be this way?
Catherine is so naive! She trusts people too much and to take so many things at face value. Just a few chapters ago she did not have any clue that her brother and Isabella fancied each other. Now, she thinks that just because she told Captain Tilney that Isabella didn’t want to dance that he would respect that. I want Catherine to become stronger and more independent – if she doesn’t then people will likely start taking advantage of her.
She builds up Catherine and tramples Tilney…presumably to push her brother to a better position with Catherine. . .what a pill!
In finding him irresistible, she was becoming irresistible go him?! With that last sentence, I get such a mental picture of her in raptures, listening to him. . .how romantic!
She doesn’t like compliments?! Since when?
I wonder if it’s low confidence and self esteem as much as a girl in love? when we were young didn’t we scrutinize every little thing that happened to our crush and perceive how it would reflect back on us. I don’t mean to make generalizations about girls, but i think there is a theme in real life and in movies/literature about young love, that before the crush knows the feelings, or expresses his feelings, young girls tend to over think things. Every moment seems like ten when you’re in love. Just imagine waiting for a reply to a text and every minute feels like forever. When it says, “Her suspense was of full five minutes’ duration: and she was beginning to think it a very long quarter of an hour” it shows just that. I think this is definitely one of those things that’s applicable back then and across all generations. Women who are confident can still second guess everything when it comes to love.
The appearance of a person makes a pretty significant first impression on Catherine, you are right!
So, when Catherine came to visit, perhaps they were just having a bad day? There is no apparent explanation for their change in behavior. Perhaps there will be an explanation later on? Or is it that this part was only inserted into the story so that Austen could display Isabella’s true intentions?
This is meant to be a compliment (I think) but it’s so incredibly condescending! Essentially, he thinks Catherine is so naive that she would never suspect anything but the purest motives for others’ actions. And maybe he’s right about that, but it’s definitely an interesting way of showing what he thinks of women.
Agreed, Shawna. Henry has definitely caught on to how naive she is, and he thinks it’s cute. Catherine is in serious danger of being used by Isabella or Henry, because she is so beholden to them both.
Used by Henry?
Yes. Glad you noticed that.
I find Isabella’s opinions of men to be rather intriguing. She seems to have a rather low opinion of them in general, like in this paragraph when she says they are “all so immoderately lazy”, but she also seems to want their attention. She enjoys Catherine’s brother paying attention to her, and in an earlier chapter she was very interested in some men who she wanted to avoid. I wonder what Austen was thinking when she created the character of Isabella. I think that Isabella is an interesting character, and she seems to have strong opinions on things. I’d like to see what happens to her in this novel.
Just you wait! 😀
It is very interesting how Isabelle at one moment is downgrading men, but the next all about them. Austen makes it almost sound like Isabelle is flirting with all of the men, but at the same time only wants certain men. Just like how Isabelle states “I never stand upon ceremony with such people”. I also wonder how Isabelle will change throughout her novel.
“Catherine was very well pleased to have it dropped for a while, she could not avoid a little suspicion at the total suspension of all Isabella’s impatient desire to see Mr. Tilney.” (Austen, 11). Does Catherine think Isabella now has other motives? Is Isabella using Catherine?
This is an unconventional way to ask for a dance. Is he used to getting what he wants?
Isabella is very much an attention seeking character. I also think she contradicts herself because she says she doesn’t like men that much even though she clearly likes to attract them somehow. Wanting to be one way but ending up acting in another way seems to be a common trait among these female characters. They are idealists who don’t stick to their ideals at all.
Is this his weird attempt at persuasiveness because it’s not working well. She tells him that she doesn’t want to dance again.
I think this paragraph is the start of where we will see a little love triangle going on! “Mr. Tilney…asked Catherine to dance with him. This compliment, delightful as it was, produced sever mortification to the lady; and in giving her denial, she expressed her sorrow on the occasion so very much as if she really felt it that had Thorpe…” John obviously has feelings for Catherine (even though he isn’t quite the gentlemen she deserves) and Catherine obviously has feelings for Henry. Do we know if Henry has feelings for Catherine. If so, who will end up being the Hero in this story. John or Henry? Previously John had talked about how he doesn’t like to read novels. Could this be Austen’s way of warning the audience that perhaps John isn’t right for Catherine and perhaps someone else could fit her better? Someone like Henry? 🙂
I find it odd that Isabella acts interesting in Henry but quickly dismisses her and runs off with James again. “and though Catherine was very well pleased to have it dropped for a while, she could not avoid a little suspicion at the total suspension of all Isabella’s impatient desire to see Mr. Tinley.” In previous chapters Isabella tried to encourage Catherine with this love interest but now it’s like Isabella is too wrapped up in James to even care about her friend’s love life. Isabella is turning out to be portrayed as almost a “fake” or “superficial” friend. She keeps ditching Catherine for James and now it makes me wonder, did Isabella become friends with Catherine so quickly in order to get closer to her brother James?
I agree that Isabella has a confusing opinion of men, thinking they are lazy but wanting their attention. I think her opinion that they are lazy could stem from her wanting more of their attention.
Other people (Jess and Kaiti) have been talking about Isabelle’s character during this chapter, particularly her behavior/opinion towards men. Now, her relationship with Catherine has seemed genuine to me thus far. However, I am starting to wonder if it is actually a ruse in order for her to get closer to Catherine’s brother. Isabelle has known from the beginning that Catherine is the sister of Mr. Morland. And, the two have a history. So, I wonder if she is trying to develop this sister-like relationship with Catherine in order to appeal Mr. Morland, not because she actually likes Catherine as a person. After all, we know that Mr. Morland has a close relationship with his sister so it would help Isabelle to get on his good side if she and Catherine were best buds.
Also, I wonder if she knows Mr. Tilney or even has somewhat of a past with him, hence her eagerness to see him in person. We shall see…
How pathetic of a reaction would it have been if Catherine had jumped to conclusions and turned a “deathlike paleness.” As if Mr. Tilney was the most important thing in the world to her. There goes Austen with her humor. Here, again we see Austen playing with gender roles. She is mocking the women of her time who believed that without a man, life wasn’t worth living. Catherine, though, is not weak. She will not throw a fit the second she sees Mr. Tilney with another woman. She is intelligent and strong and not ready to give up on this man.
This is wonderful characterization. She’s quite, dare I say, sassy! Even though she likes James she seems to have no qualms standing up to him.
Austen loves love triangles!
He does not know how to respectfully treat a woman.
How could Isabelle have betrayed Catherine, let alone her brother. Isabelle was head over heels in love with Catherine’s brother, so what would Austen have made her change her mind? Why would Isabelle now want to be with Frederick? Isabelle has always been loyal to Catherine, for her to not even write a letter, is almost unheard of. Friendship is a very loyal characteristic of Austen, so I wonder if there will be a turn around where Isabelle will explain herself further in the novel.
I thought that it was very interesting that Austen decided to sort of place the blame for Catherine’s misguided imaginings on what she read. As we know, Catherine is very fond of the gothic novels that Austen is parodying here, and it does make sense that Catherine would think up different scenarios based on what she is so fond of reading about. I honestly feel rather bad for Catherine, as she kind of made a fool out of herself in front of Henry by being unable to separate fiction from reality. I wonder about what Austen was thinking when she wrote this. Was she maybe trying to say something about reading novels, like how we need to be aware of the differences between a story and real life?
I think that Austen was setting this scene up from the beginning of the story. In the first chapter she said that Catherine never liked to read books with facts in them, but as she grew older loved to read gothic novels. I agree that it is sad that Catherine comes off looking like a fool in front of Henry. I also wonder what Austen’s intentions were when creating Catherine’s struggle with separating reality from fiction.
I think so, or at least that’s the lesson to be learned.
I think the lead up to this scene in the Abbey may have been Austen’s way to make Catherine connect with Henry through the story about his mother. It also made Catherine realize that she had put her metaphoric foot in her mouth and felt bad for what she had said to Henry. This humanizes her more, although she was always humanized from the first chapter, this lets her learn from her mistakes and she grows as a character.
Humble pie, right?
Isabelle is just a terrible person and is far to concerned with men to consider her own friend’s feelings. She has no loyalties and clearly is putting herself ahead of her friendship with Catherine just because she keeps getting captivated with different men. She was bound to hurt Catherine sooner or later and now she’s done it. This makes me feel for Catherine and wish that she had a better friend because she did not deserve this treatment.
What a great connection, Isaac. I didn’t remember that the narrator had told us that Catherine never read books with facts in them, but I agree that it is so important to this scene. We can blame Catherine’s actions on reading too many gothic novels just as we can blame children’s actions today on watching too much television. As Jess said, Catherine has really struggled throughout the novel to separate fiction from reality. This struggle has created a barrier for Catherine, she keeps taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back. I think that Catherine is craving a little adventure in her life. Unfortunately, each time she reaches for it it bites her.
Bravo, Catherine. You finally realized that Isabella was not the wonderful friend that you thought she was. It just took her breaking off her engagement to your brother to realize it. What I wonder, though, is whether Catherine has thought about what it would mean for Isabella to marry Frederick Tilney? He is, after all, Henry’s brother. If Catherine’s wishes could come true she would marry Henry, which would then make Isabella her sister-in-law. What a wild turn of events that would be! The relationships in this novel are quite twisted.
We see our heroin hitting another road block. I would like to know how much exposure the character had before going to bath, and what she knew of the world away from her small town in which she was from. Her character was finally gaining strength, and I don’t know if she became too cocky in her instinct or if her constant gothic novels took over, but she seems to overthink the situation of Mrs. Tilney’s death. Will Catherine fully recover from this insinuation towards the general, will Henry look past it? But, Austen is full of surprises so maybe Catherine sees through the generals character after all.
I also agree that it is no surprise that Catherine would think up such a terrible accident influenced by all the gothic novels she reads. Anyone who reads as much as she does, will most definitely have a vivid imagination. “…and it seemed as if the whole might be traced to the influence of that sort of reading…” I also found myself wondering, what is Austen trying to tell us? Not only what is she trying to tell us about this part, but why bring gothic novels into this story at all? My only guess is that she has Catherine read these books in order to have her character be set up for mischief and adventure. After all, her gothic novels seem to be about mischief and adventure as well.
This is definitely the betrayal Austen was foreshadowing all along! And it just helps along the idea of Isabella using Catherine. She seemed to use Catherine for James, and did she start using Catherine because of her original connection to the Tilney’s? Even though the captain originally approached Isabella, her motives are always unknown or different from what they appear. I too wonder and hope that we’ll hear Isabella’s story later in the novel. Also, a few passages down Henry says he doesn’t envy his brother. What is really going on in this story right now? So many twists and turns!
I agree about the humanizing aspect–Austen has declared from the beginning that Catherine is an unlikely heroine. . .so it stands to reason that she is going to continue to develop that “unlikely” side…tot he point of showing how normal and silly she is…she isn’t the heroine who discovers a woman locked away in a tower, or murdered visciously. . .she is the girl who is found on the wrong staircase, getting caught up in her own fantasy-version of reality so much so that she acts on her suspicions and gets caught and shamed.
Is Eleanor hinting to her brother that Catherine would make a suitable sister-in-law?
Katheine, I agree with you. Here is the betrayal we knew was coming all along! Isabella had hinted at this, hadn’t she? And with the letters not coming, I knew this would happen. I bet the reason Henry doesn’t envy is brother is because he has a low opinion of Isabella for being so fickle, especially since he talked about dancing being like marriage towards the beginning of the story; he puts a lot of stock in faithfulness.
As Austen grew as a writer and matured herself, it seems to me that her characters matured as well. Catherine is upset and frustrated by the events of the day (the rain coming, missing the Tilney’s for the walk, being mad at John for not stopping, etc). Her actions reflect this mood (her anxiousness and frustration) but do not take over the entire story in such a dramatic flair that they may have had this piece been earlier in parts of the juvenilia. We see that Catherine more or less forgets her predicament while at the theater for the first four acts until she sees Henry at the beginning of the 5th. It is only this reminder that brings her back down. I have to think that because of Austen’s own maturity and growth — it caused her characters too. Would we have seen a much more heart wrenching/dramatic depiction of Catherine’s sadness in Austen’s earlier works? I believe so.
Catherine’s declaration in the paragraph above is to me could be an example of Catherine’s immaturity. As she explained earlier, she “knew not how such an offence as hers might be classed by the laws of worldly politeness” (paragraph 3).because she is so new to these situations, and circumstances, and societal demands in such circumstances, so she almost over does it once she finally has the opportunity to explain the circumstances. because of the circumstances, she continuously contemplated in her head and declared her passion to be with them with vehemence. overall though i feel this little riff brought them all closer together because it allowed them each to see each others feelings of each other.
Austen worked on the novel that would be called Northanger Abbey for most of her career. She tried to publish it early and it never was printed. Then she bought it back and it still wasn’t printed. Only after her death did her brother print it!
Catherine is a very emotional and empathetic woman as indicated during the first chapter of the novel. Here we’re shown that when things aren’t going her way, she becomes very upset and she lets these small details ruin what she had planned for her day instead of accepting it. This colors her reactions for the rest of the day which is a bit odd. It could be her fatal flaw is that she lets small things bother her in ways that it won’t for other people around her.
I agree that this is a sign of growth from Austen. Her earlier characters would have been consumed by the feelings that Catherine has before going to the play. I do wonder if it is a sign of Austen’s own maturity or just her maturity as a writer?
This moment feels particularly genuine to me. Catherine’s apologies are heartfelt, and indeed perhaps a little too much. Were she more knowledgeable of social custom, she might have avoided this situation, or she might have held her knowledge of Miss Tilney’s anger to herself, and simply taken his consolation. After all, the matter is solved, isn’t it?
This is sort of creepy. John is doing the modern day equivalent of hitting on Catherine, and he’s not being very pleasant about it. This is the sort of thing which determined guys at the bar would whisper to unwanting ladies. This is the kind of thing which would send shivers.
Is it just me, or is this misunderstanding a bit reminiscent of the misunderstandings between Lizzy and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice?
What does that mean: “You tumble my gown?” Does it mean that she stepped on her gown, or wrinkled it? Clearly, the purpose is to show that Mrs. Allen is not going out of her way to help Catherine’s case with Mr. Tilney, but I am curious about what it actually means.
Yes! And how can she believe anything he says after the lies he was spinning before?
To tumble is to step on or tear the gown.
Yes, excellent analogy.
One thing’s for sure in this novel. Catherine’s always being genuine.
Such writing as that of murder and secret passages, haunted homes, etc…is writing I never expected to see from Austen. From her juvenilia, she seemed more fixed upon romantic relationships and friendships. The only real deviation from that we ever saw (thus far) was “History of England,” but even this was not so dark and secretive. I have to wonder if the exploration of this “darker” writing comes from the gothic novels that have been mentioned throughout the work. I find it interesting how easily Austen can balance these two juxtaposing themes (love/romance & horror) and make the story flow. I wonder how much more of this dark matter we will see throughout the rest of the novel, and Austen’s works in general?
I agree with you Kelsie. I did not expect to see/read a more mystery and horror style writing from Austen. I would expect to see the love and friendship, but this was a totally different turn and style of writing. Maybe this could have been more of her experimenting with writing?I am also wondering if this “dark” style of writing will continue.
Remember, it’s a parody of the gothic, and a parody has to emulate the gothic in some way. So you get the gothic, but in mockery.
I agree with you Kelsie, that the suspense, mystery feeling of this section is a little surprising when compared to what Austen has previously written. I wonder if the mystery/horror feel of this is more a response to Catherine’s love of gothic novels than anything else. Catherine seems to look at the world around her through the lens of the novels that she reads and loves. She makes comparisons and sets her expectations based on the plots and descriptions in her novels. I think Catherine sees mystery and horror because she wants to.
Catherine is showing her age here. She is stuck in the fantasy world of her readings. She now believes that despite being told Mrs. Tinley is dead, that rather the General is hiding her away. Catherine is putting pieces together in order to further her own ideas on what really happened to Mrs. Tinley. Perhaps as Catherine matures, she will no believe in such fantasies being possible.
I found it almost shocking that Catherine jumped to such conclusions. I agree it most certainly shows her age and immaturity, and how she still has a wild imagination. Her thoughts and the story of what truly was happening reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre and how there was someone locked up in the mansion that the character Jane had no inclination existed. As people mentioned earlier in comments, This seems a little out there for Jane Austen after we have read more of her early works, none of which seemed to include such horror. If Austen is writing about the authors the characters read, i can only imagine she’s read the books herself, and is having a little fun with the horror and suspense.
She suspects that there are many more rooms that are “secreted”. . .reminds me of “The Sound of Music” when Captain Von Trapp says, “In the future, you will kindly remember that there are certain rooms which are not to be disturbed!” because Maria was in the ballroom, which was strictly off-limits because it reminded him of his wife. I wonder if the same thing is happening here–maybe there are secret rooms that remind General Tilney of his wife…
By the way. . .what is an Abbey? I thought it was like a monastery, but for nuns instead of monks? This sounds more like a mansion/estate.
Ha! So, I mentioned “The Sound of Music” before, but this reminds me strongly of “Beauty and the Beast” when Belle is not allowed in the west wing, where the Beast hangs out! Suddenly that is the place Catherine most desires to see, because curiosity is TERRIBLY TEMPTING and she has read so many Gothic novels…
She suspects that he might have murdered his wife?! She entertains herself well. I agree with you all that this is new ground for Austen and savors strongly of her experimentation in her juvenilia.
I thought of “Jane Eyre” too!
I totally get your point on how age is a factor of our heroine’s overactive imagination. And, I do agree with you to an extent. But, I feel like Catherine’s inexperience is specifically at fault here.
Inexperience obviously comes with young age. Yet, if we were to imagine Isabelle being in the same exact situation as Catherine during this scene, I honestly feel like Isabelle would have not reached the same extreme conclusions that Catherine does. While the two are both young ladies (yes, Isabelle is slightly older than our heroine, but I would not consider it a significant difference in the grand scheme of things), Isabelle clearly has much more experience with socializing, daily etiquette, and appealing to people in general. Meanwhile, Bath is truly Catherine’s first “big city” adventure, plus she has learned about the world through fictional Gothic literature instead of experiencing the world first hand. So, yes, Catherine’s inexperience and lack of knowledge is the fault behind her behavior, not just her age.
This reminds me of “Jane Eyre” too! Charlotte Bronte published it it twenty years after Austen’s death– so no doubt there is no actual connection other than that perhaps it was a trope of the time, or that Bronte read this!
A fraction of me is wishing that Austen would stop breaking the fourth wall, stop addressing her readers directly. After reading chapter 1, I was surprised at how well this story flowed in comparison to most of Austen’s Juvenilia. Between the diction and the beautifully crafted sentences, I was pleasantly surprised. However, when Austen starts chapter 2 by pausing briefly to address her readers, that flow is interrupted. In my opinion, this interruption is a sign of a still maturing Austen. She has not yet figured out the perfect way to inform her readers of exactly what she wants without “speaking” to them directly, so she breaks the wall between her and her readers. I have not read any of Austen’s adult novels, does she still do this in those?
Good question! The narrator in this novel is unlike those of other Austen novels. I think you’re right. There’s a different level of maturity in her later works.
Shawna, I agree completely with what your saying about the “flow” being disrupted. These wall breaks are seen as necessary by our author (why else would they be in there?) but are perhaps a bit troublesome for the reader. I think you hit the nail on the head when you say it may be due to Austen’s maturity as a writer. Like you mention, the flow is markedly improved however, from her stories in the juvenilia!
“Difficulties and dangers of [. . .] Bath,” is reminiscent of “Jack and Alice” when Lucy goes to Bath with the Simpsons and there finds herself with a proposal of marriage and her own tragic death.
Is this a tie to gothic literature–the use of the word “throat” and “night” right after mentioning that lords and baronets can be mischievous and force girls violently to remote farm-houses?
I can’t help but think of the ball in “Pride and Prejudice” with the mention of this ball.
With such a huge crowd, it is interesting that there was nobody she could dance with because Mrs. Allen couldn’t introduce her.
Despite the interruption, I do like how straightforward this is. Plus, by this interjection, Austen inserts a sort of conversational tone. Later on, she goes on a rant about writing– and maybe that is totally unnecessary to the story, but it seems like at this time she is still forming her aesthetic. I like how frank she is about seventeen year old girls being ignorant– I have to agree!
Austen is starting to explore more imagery I think, rather then just telling the reader about the situation. I like “here, there, everywhere” even though it is a commonly used phrase, because there is more attention to sound in this sentence.
This is some pretty seriously unsubtle foreshadowing. A prelude to the following paragraph, which properly describes Mrs. Allen, this paragraph states that we should already be viewing her as a potential villain. It would be good to make a note here to see if all of the things mentioned– intercepting letters, ruining character, turning out of doors– actually happens, or if it is just suggested that it might.
Cue the Gothic in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!
What an interesting thought–Mrs. Allen, a villain? Let’s see what you think as you read more.
“Sally, or rather Sarah (for what young lady of common gentility will reach the age of sixteen without altering her name as far as she can?)” I found this to be extremely interesting especially after we have read Kitty/Catherine and the Bower. It goes to show Austen’s feelings about names, where before we were only left to conjecture.
I question Isabella’s “friendship” with Catherine in this passage. From the narrators description of what passed between them, Isabella seems to be trying to straight up manipulate Catherine. She is aware of the fact that Catherine will act for those she loves. (Mind games!) In spite of this, I’m excited by the fact that Catherine is able to stand up for herself. She sees through Isabella’s tactics and crocodile tears and maintains her stance. Is this an opportunity for Catherine to be her own heroine? I question if this interaction meant more for Austen than just what is shown on the surface between the two friends.
I really like how Catherine stands up for herself in this chapter. She is so sure about what she thinks it right, and is not afraid to stand by that. Even though she is being pressured to give in and change her plans to please her friend and brother she resists and does what she thinks is proper. I really admire that, and I am very glad that she stands up for herself even though she knows that she is disappointing Isabella and her brother. I think that it is great that Austen wrote Catherine like this, and it’s another example of a strong-willed young woman in Austen’s works. I also wonder if it could be a sort of moral message to other girls—do what you know is right, even though others might not agree. So congratulations to Catherine for not giving in to peer pressure!
I find Catherine and Isabella’s relationship quite odd. At first they started out seeming like pretty great friends. They both loved to read and hit it off real quick; however, as the story progresses, Isabella turns into a girl who I definitely wouldn’t want to be friends with. She says one thing, and will do another, she is completely wrapped around James, and often disregards Catherine’s feelings. Isabella is turning into someone very similar to John. In this paragraph, Isabella’s needy and annoying traits show through, “The sacrifice is not much;and to oblige such a friend-I think you quite unkind, if you still refuse.”Why does Austen decide to turn Isabella into a snooty girl? Could it be to make the audience not like Isabella as much and to focus our attention on the elegant Eleanor? Perhaps Eleanor and Catherine would be a better friendship.
I thin it’s about this time where we see Isabella’s true nature. She abuses the friendship and instead of respecting her, she exploited the friendship and abused terms of endearment. She makes such a huge fuss over it that she ends up bringing in James to plead with her as well, and that’s turning her sibling against her. I love how Catherine stands her ground throughout all this, and sticks to what she believed was right. I like your suggestion on how this might make her her own heroin. It is definitely a very strong character development for her!
Here we see the ways of Austen’s time being made known. During her time it would not have been appropriate for men and women to go out unchaperoned. Today this is much different. We also see that Mrs. Allen indifference with open carriage rides was her concern for dresses becoming dirty. Though Mrs. Allen is very concerned about fashion, she does agree afterwards with the statement that it is an “odd appearance” for men to drive women around whom they are not related too.
Indeed. Austen is using foils to prove a point.
Yes, and imagine her youth. She’s about 16-17 years old.
Mrs. Allen cracks me up.
Yes, I do agree with this statement that it would have been inappropriate and that she is looking for validation that it’s not a good thing.
I would assume that the man was being courteous but yes, clearly this was a huge taboo in Austen’s time, for a woman to be driven around by a man who is not immediate family. Back then I suppose it was very strange and a way to begin idle gossip and speculation about the man and what led her to be near him in a way that would allow her to be with him. I guess it was just easier to avoid the extra attention by keeping to family members and other women.
The Thorpe family doesn’t like to answer no. Every time Catherine tries to say no to one of them or do something she wants to do, all they do is attempt to manipulate her, or just disregard her feelings all together. I definitely think Austen is trying to set the Tilney’s up for being the “good guys” at this point.
I find it interesting how Austen changes up how she writes dialog from chapter to chapter and even from conversation to conversation. In previous chapters she has written quick dialog with the speaker changing often with little description of the dialog, but here we see Austen framing the dialog with long descriptions of the speakers thoughts and motivations. I wonder if the difference if due to her growing and changing styles as a writer or if more simply, this scene needed more description than the others?
I think that you make a very good point, Rachael. Austen does seem to be making Isabella out to be the kind of friend you do not want to have. We are starting to see that Catherine wants to be an independent woman but unfortunately she is easily manipulated by her “friends.” Maybe this is a turning point for her. Is Catherine finally starting to see that maybe this “friend” of hers is holding her back? As Katherine commented, the Thorpe siblings like it their way and will do whatever they can to get what they want. Austen’s friendships never seem to be sunshine and flowers. Rather, they are rain and dirt as we saw in chapter 12. I hope that soon Catherine starts to follow her heart!
Henry seems to take the upper hand with Catherine in this passage; acting as if she were a child and saying to entertain such thoughts was, for lack of a better word, stupid. It is quite possible that these things could occur! They still occur today and we’ve advanced in so many ways it is immeasurable. Being English and Christian certainly does not provide immunity against crimes, and Henry’s father did give Catherine quite the opportunity to form this conclusion from the secretive passageways and locked rooms. Why is Austen letting Henry talk down to Catherine in this passage? As a reader, it felt so believable that Henry’s father could have killed his mother. Are we supposed to take Henry’s “speech” as a joke upon ourselves? I.E.; “I can’t believe I almost believed it!” ?
Here we see Catherine’s fantasies has led her to her own demise. We read she now leaves crying after Henry corrects her. Surely she is feeling childish for letting her readings influence how she thinks of others in her reality. I think this is an important part for Austen’s character, whereas she is learning a lesson about differentiating between fantasy and reality.
Yes! Good insight!
Catherine is suspecting something about the General:”Going from crime to crime, murdering whomsoever they chose, without any feeling of humanity or remorse” (pg 28); I think Catherine is getting a bit carried away here, thinking that the General killed his wife which may not be true but the idea of it alarms her. All of the novels that she has read have started to give her ideas and now she’s beginning to speculate this, which makes me seriously think that she’s going to start losing her trust in him because for all she knows he could come after her as well, if her theory turns out to be true.
This is bringing Catherine back to reality by discovering that the General’s wife had an innocent death due to illness and Catherine’s curiosity has really angered Henry when he sets her straight.
It sounds like they are honoring the mother by keeping her room around and Catherine’s insinuation of accusing the General such a crime is actually quite disrespectful without further knowledge about the situation and the family’s sensitivity about the subject. It’s very cowardly of her to run away instead of admitting that she had been influenced by too many stories and had scared herself into believing that those events had happened without further evidence.
Right. This section serves as a warning to Austen’s own readers.
Austen might be poking fun at Gothic heroines here by making Catherine’s imagination ridiculous!
This like this always sound more ridiculous when spoken. The poor girl probably feels pretty stupid.
Now I think it is Henry who is being a little naive. Although his conjecture is not entirely unwarranted– it’s probably good that he does not immediately jump to the conclusion that Catherine suspects his father of imprisonment or murder.
I agree with you, Angela. Catherine has been behaving quite ungraciously, when the General has been so nice to her. She’s gotten her friend in trouble, suspected her host of something awful, and angered her love interest. Good going, Catherine!
Isabelle finally wrote back to Catherine after she found out all about her and her brother not being a married couple anymore. Austen has her explain that she still loves Catherine’s brother, but is with Frederick. I wonder what Austen was thinking when she was writing this? Was Isabelle pretty much conned into being with Frederick? Isabelle asks Catherine to tell her brother in order to see how he is, where she is the one who should be writing him. It seems as if Isabelle is trying to fix everything by writing a letter and through Catherine. Austen is twisting her idea of friendship in this piece, so I wonder what is going to happen between Catherine and Isabelle throughout the rest of the novel.
Well, it seems like Catherine is finally seeing Isabella for who she really is! Austen is really using a different tactic with female friendships in this work as compared to her others. In what we read in the Juvenilia, friendship was often rather important. Here, Austen is showing us a friendship that ends in betrayal and hurt. Why did she do this? Why did she decide to portray a friendship such as Catherine and Isabella’s? It is an interesting change. I also really liked how the reader sort of goes through the whole relationship along with Catherine, originally liking Isabella and finally realizing that she is not as good as she appeared in the beginning. It was very well done, in my opinion.
Yes, it is good to notice how Austen’s presentation of friendship evolves over the course of her own writing.
Austen’s giving readers another reality check, this time about friendships.
This whole letter is one heaping pile of cow dung! I didn’t feel as if there was one true compassionate remark in the whole thing. Isabelle knew what she was doing when she first met Captain Tilney, and how she was flirting and trying to attach herself to him, even though she was engaged to Catherine brother. I knew from the moment she found out what their living was going to be that she was disappointed, and had hoped for more money, and it was clear from her behavior towards the captain that she was still on the hunt for someone better. And now after all that has occurred for her to act as if everything was normal and that it was an easy fix its crazy for her to think she could fool Catherine.
I found this letter from Isabella ridiculous. I still can’t get over Isabella’s character as I’ve never liked her in the beginning. She’s very manipulative and fake and this letter finally allows Catherine to see Isabella for how she really is. I think this is a big part of the story because it’s where Catherine stands up for herself and says how there is no way she is going to try to make amends with James for Isabella. Austen writes, “Lose no time, my dearest, sweetest Catherine, in writing to him and to me, Who ever am, etc…” Just the fact that Isabella ends her letter by pretty much demanding (not begging as she should) for Catherine to write to her brother, shows Isabella’s character perfectly. At a time, Catherine would probably do as Isabella says but now she is finally freeing herself from Isabella and seeing her for how she really is. Go Catherine!
I am SO happy Catherine is finally done being manipulated by Isabella.
Like everyone else responding to this paragraph, I cannot stand this letter by Isabelle. I feel like Isabelle is one of those characters you love to hate; I am so upset for both Catherine and John that Isabelle–someone who they dearly loved and trusted–just betrayed/dropped them for the sake of money.
But, I am going to try and play devil’s advocate here and say that Isabelle is a product of her culture (I know, kind of a cliche thing to say, but still true). Isabelle knows that she has marry for money; her family are lower middle class so she does need to find someone who can ensure that she will live in comfort for the rest of her days (I hate saying that, but it’s true). I admit, she is horrible for playing with other’s feelings and wanting more than the necessities of life that James could have provided. But, Isabelle is human, and her behavior was expected from a young woman of her status during the time.
Again, personally, I still hate her. But, I like to try and understand the characters I hate. And, that is what I have come up with during that soul search.
I am inclined to agree with both sentiments–we love to hate her, and that she is a product of her situation. It was more common to marry for fortune/ security than love anyway, and she professes to love James.
Does she actually love James? Does she really have no way to send him a letter (unlikely?) I think she is avoidant because she knows she overstepped bounds in paying so much attention to Captain Tilney, and flirting with him.
Finally! This is such a satisfying paragraph!
I love the honesty that Austen is portraying here in regards to how the Tilney’s wealth (obvious via their home, the abbey) excites her, but does not excite the Tilney’s themselves. I like to think that Austen is a bit more straight forward in her depiction of the Tilney’s wealth (than authors writing in a similar style may be) letting the reader know that they are used to their home and upper class ways. It makes Catherine seem much more relatable and approachable because of her excitement. I’m wondering if this portrayal speaks more so to the assumed readers that would have picked up Austen’s book at the time it was being published? Would people have found Catherine to be a character they enjoyed because of her — in a way — innocence in regards to money? Would the rich have found her a funny character because she was excited by the abbey as a more astute home? Catherine seems to play to both “sides” of those who may be reading quite easily.
Continuing the theme of enthusiasm and appreciation/parody of Gothic literature, Catherine is very eager to find out if the abbey has mysterious or gothic legends based around it (“She could not entirely subdue the hope of some traditional legends” (21) ). She really lets her love for Gothic literature color her fantasies about the estate. She really wants to have an adventure or a ghost story come to life in this old place and this really shows her love for the literature that she reads that she wants to live inside one of these gothic stories, even just for a visit.
Yes, she’s excited about it somewhat because of the family’s status but she is also excited because she’s hoping the house has mysteries so I think that heightens her feelings of the family and she is comfortable with their wealth because this is how they live. She also seems accepting that “A distinction to which they had been born gave no pride.” (21). She doesn’t seem to see how their money influences their pride because this is just how they live and what they know. That doesn’t seem to influence her judgement on them as people, which may be a callback to her natural heroism and empathy toward others.
Yay! The title of the story has made itself known!
I feel like all of the references of Catherine’s love for Gothic literature have led up to this moment. Instead of just talking about horror and gothics, our heroine is going to a place that could’ve come straight out of her stories. But, since we readers are aware of the fact that Northanger Abbey is a parody of Gothic literature, I have a bad feeling that Catherine might get a bit to excited with her imagination and the story will end badly as a result.
Finally! I was beginning to wonder why the title was Northanger Abbey, Kristen.
Me too! It seemed rather arbitrary!
The last few sentences of this paragraph go into heavy gothic description. The writing has begun to take on the tone of a gothic novel, which could be to really open the readers up to the parody!
This last section about novels seems as if Austen lost herself a bit and began on a rant. She is fiercely defending the novel and how those who read them should not be ashamed, though most commonly they appear to be. I.e.; “‘Oh! It is only a novel!’ replies the young lady while she lays down her book…or momentary shame.” I have to wonder what sparked this piece of Austen’s writing. While drafting did someone tell her that this piece (seemingly a novel) wasn’t worth her time? That it was more of a frivolous piece than something that had actual substance? I do feel as if emotion played a huge role in this last piece of the chapter.
As if reading is a negative thing for women to be doing. They should not be educating themselves or entertaining themselves, they should be going to balls and courting men because that is all that is important in life, at least according to the recurring stereotype of the woman of polite society. There is even shame associated with reading or maybe shame for not reading what everyone else has read because it makes her look good to others. Well, if you haven’t read (blank) you aren’t relevant to a lady of your station but by all means don’t enjoy it!
Oh, yes, my favorite Austen rant.
Yup, Austen is mocking the idea of what counts as acceptable reading.
This reminds me of Austen’s “History of England”, where she tries throughout the whole piece to defend herself, in her mocking way. I agree emotion does seem like a huge aspect of this chapter, as she is really aggressive to explain it is a novel. While Catherine is explaining her side, I also compare this to “Kitty, or the Bower”. Kitty and Cecilia are comparing their views on different stories and books. It seems Austen is very opinionated and wants people to notice her, especially how she states in “History of England”, “shrew my Hatred to all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine” (157). Austen is very focused on people seeing her views on subjects and wanting people to know her writing is worth their time.
Indeed. Austen’s narrator, like H of E’s, wants her readers to know exactly what she thinks.
Kelsie, I am really loving your theory that Austen started this rant because someone told her that writing Northanger Abbey was a waste of time! I can just imagine a sassy young adult Austen saying “Oh, I’ll show you!” as she scribbles this down.
I also found this paragraph to be more of a personal Austen rant than an actual significant part of the story. It is like Austen is going off on a tangent. But, since we know that Austen wrote this novel while fairly young, I think this rant is just an attribute of being a young growing writer.
Austen reuses names quite a bit…we have seen her use “Cecilia” a couple of times in her juvenilia, and “Camilla” in “Kitty, or the Bower.” Catherine is, of course, used multiple places, too, as either “Catherine” or “Kitty”.
Yes! And remember that there was similar frustration between Kitty and Camilla in “Kitty, or the Bower” because Camilla didn’t read like Kitty did!
Another mention of novel-reading in this book! It looks like Mr. Tilney has a completely different opinion on novels than Mr. Thorpe. Mr. Tilney seems to really enjoy reading novels, especially the kind that Catherine likes. Did Austen do this as another way to highlight the differences between Mr. Tilney and Mr. Thorpe? I wonder if she did it in order to show who Catherine was more compatible with (although with how awful Mr. Thorpe is acting, I can’t see why anyone would pick him over Mr. Tilney). It is interesting to see how the different people perceive novels, and it seems as if their opinions on them sort of reflect on their character. If so, points to Mr. Tilney for liking them!
I think that you are on to something when you talk about the way the author portrays Catherine & Mr. Tilney as liking the same novels and how it may have to do with showing better compatibility. It only gives Catherine more reason to like Tilney and less reason to like Thorpe (but honestly, we have enough anyways…)
I found this paragraph to be very interesting with the way Austen portrayed Miss Tilney’s character towards historic writing. Austen describes historians to write about “false with the true”, and even how they depend on “sources of intelligence in former histories or records”. Miss Tilney then describes how history writing though “does not actually pass under one’s own observation”. When Austen was writing “History of England” though, she used much of her own opinion to back up facts that occurred without dates. In the next paragraph, Catherine states “I shall not pity the writers of history any longer”. It seems as if Austen is using her sarcastic tone, since she has everyone else in this story to enjoy history writing. Why would Austen go against what she thought of history writing in this paragraph (as well as the next), unless she meant it all to be a joke?
Good for you for bringing us back the Austen’s History of England. I always imagine that Austen had her mind on H of E when she wrote this section.
There is some bitterness detected in that Catherine doesn’t like how some of the material is presented in history books. This is echoing the manuscript “A History of England” in Catherine’s complaints about history books. She is merely expanding upon what Austen set out with her parody. She is also pointing out the lies of the history books, which is something Austen did with her parody of history books. Her major complaint is about how there are very few women there and how it is wholly male dominated so there is little she can relate to. History covers men because they are (at the time) the ones with the power so the role of women in history was reduced.
I agree that Mr. Tilney’s interest in novels make him a much better suited love interest to Catherine, and I feel like this shared attribute allows readers to become invested in their compatible relationship.
I also really like Jess’s point on opinions on novels reflect personal character. And, to add onto that, Austen seems to be making a smart move on her novel argument by having Mr. Tilney liking them. Like we have established before, novels are seen as mind numbing entertainment for women. The fact that a man such as Mr. Tilney has an interest in those novels–and not afraid to admit it–proves to Austen’s readers that they should not be ashamed for their love of reading stories such as this.
Some scholars suggest that Henry is Austen’s mouthpiece.
Henry Tilney can tell a very good story! Here I can see how Austen is referencing the gothic novels of her time. I really enjoyed this chapter, where Henry and Catherine amuse themselves talking about the typical gothic storyline, and then when they finally reach Northanger Abbey Catherine is surprised by how it actually looks. It just goes to show that expectations and reality can be very different! I feel like this part of the story really makes the gothic parody that Austen was writing more evident through Henry’s teasing of Catherine about what she has in store for her at Northanger Abbey.
He’s teasing her, but I’m not even mad. It is kind of amusing.
Henry is teasing, but I think he’s also showing off for her. She’s just as amused by this as he is. I would even dare to call it… flirting.
Yes, it is meant to be!
What an interesting way to look at the inner workings of a relationship. While I in someways, agree with this statement, I also have to disagree. Yes — the woman should not act on any outside admirations of her marriage. BUT, why should the woman be the only one held responsible for her actions? Shouldn’t the admiring man know not to interfere? The old saying “it takes two to tango” is in my mind at this point. Is Austen falling back into the normal conventions of gender roles at this time — or by bringing them to light is she questioning them? A bit of both it seems to me.
This novel that talks about friendship and romance seems to be taking a quick turn into family as a main subject now. Battle of the siblings it seems. Why must Austen always be so unpredictive?
Ugh! Catherine – don’t give up!! I have a bad feeling about this…
I just realized! Earlier on, Isabella mentioned that there is ‘more than one way’ for them to become sisters. She wasn’t talking about Catherine marrying Thorpe, or her marrying James. I bet that was an early hint that she had her eye on Captain Tilney, and assuming Catherine married Henry– lo, they would be sisters. Isabella is not stupid.
Kelsie– I believe the point is not that Captain Tilney is paying Isabella attention, but that she’s responding to it. Male or female, it’s often flattering when others like the same person you do– they are desired. And then, it as just as flattering when your partner shoots them down, because you know they’re faithful to you. It is not Captain Tilney who made a promise to James; it’s Isabella who did. In effect, in this particular case I don’t think this is sexism pertaining to women. I think, that were things the other way around, it would be just the same.
Although Henry can be infuriatingly condescending to Catherine, I don’t think it’s entirely unwarranted. She is incredibly naive. She is young and as yet not fully formed. At times like this, I find myself actually liking Henry for being the voice of reason. What he says in this paragraph is quite right. She either needs to trust her friend to be true to her brother, or acknowledge that her friend does not truly love him
This kind of reminds me of “Kitty, or the Bower.” Even though the Mrs. Percival did not want Kitty to make “numerous acquaintance,” she ended up falling for Edward Stanley. But, it did not work out in the end. Meanwhile, quite the opposite of Kitty’s aunt, Mrs. Allen seems to want Catherine to make many acquaintances in Bath, especially she kept saying that she wished she had found Catherine a partner at the ball during the last chapter. Austen is making it clear that Catherine is going to meet her hero—after all, she is the heroine of this story. But, I wonder if her story will end similarly to Kitty’s?
Also, I want to point out that Kitty’s name after revisions is Catharine… I am just completely overthinking this, or might there be a connection between “Kitty, or the Bower” and Northanger Abbey?
I don’t think that you are completely overthinking this. Go ahead and see where the thought process takes you.
What is the asterisk for? Is the comment an “aside”? Also, notice that Mr. Tilney is a clergyman, too, like Catherine’s father. Is that Austen’s go-to respectable profession for characters?
This paragraph is the beginning of Austen introducing writing within the female sex. Tilney keeps suggesting that it’s ludacris Catherine does not keep a journal, because don’t all women keep journals? “… to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Everything allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female,” (Austen, 6). He also mentions very trivial things. He assumes that she will want to talk about her dresses, her makeup, and her hair while she is at Bath, and that’s all anyone would want to hear about when she returns home.
Austen seems to be opening a theme for the story, the question is: is it a theme about women and men, or is it themed specifically toward “journaling” or novels, or reading? Or women reading and writing?
This novel sets out to expose cliches, and journal writing seems to be one of them.
It was interesting to see how Catherine’s opinion of John Thorpe changed throughout these few chapters. Most of the characters (besides Catherine) seem to like him for some reason, although he is really not a very pleasant character. Thorpe seems really rather self-centered and rude (like saying that his sisters “looked very ugly”), but several people keep assuring Catherine that he is a decent man. I wonder what Austen was thinking when she created his character. Is she saying something about how some men are praised and seen in a positive light when they really do not deserve it? All I can say is that I find John Thorpe to be quite annoying, and I feel bad for Catherine for having to deal with him so much. I’d like to find out why everyone seems to like him, when it seems that only Catherine can see sense.
Notice who is assuring Catherine that Thorpe is a good guy.
I found these past couple paragraphs to be rather interesting. First in paragraph 30, Mr. Thorpe explains how “if a man knows how to drive” a carriage it can be very safe. Then, in this paragraph Catherine explains how how “her general notions of what men ought to be” were “unfixed”. It is as if Catherine is changing her thoughts on men and how they may not all be the same. Mr. Thorpe is bringing light to men almost and how some of them may not be alcoholics, stubborn, and more. This seems to be very different from Austen’s past writing, as she is quite the feminist. I wonder if Catherine will still have these same thoughts of men being more equal to a women? Maybe later on Catherine might have the feeling of being better off without men?
Then again, Mr. Thorpe seems to be sort of cocky, trying to get Catherine to like him. He seems to be very into her, wanting to dance, and keep encountering here (with the carriage ride). So, it seems that he could just be trying to flatter Catherine and she is not into him at all.
[ In the pump-room, one so newly arrived in Bath must be met with, and that building she had already found so favourable for the discovery of female excellence, and the completion of female intimacy, so admirably adapted for secret discourses and unlimited confidence, that she was most reasonably encouraged to expect another friend from within its walls.]
Interesting how she believed it was the place that lead to the friendship of Isabella. I wonder how things will unfold, and if, as Catherine thinks, it will aid in her friendship with Miss Tilney
I find the end of this paragraph to be very ironic. Austen has written many manuscripts herself, especially through the course of her juvenilia. Catherine found a manuscript and stated that it “could have remained undiscovered in a room”. It is almost as if Austen is describing herself in this scene, as if she didn’t have family the manuscripts wouldn’t have really been known. Especially since her sister and other family members published, as well as inherited Austen’s manuscripts. So, was this aspect in relation to herself?
In gothic novels heroines tend to find scrolls, letters, and manuscripts. Austen is mocking the heroines of those novels, but perhaps she can identify with them, too, as in her youth she was creating her own manuscripts.
I can’t say that I understand, either. Is he getting a tea set as a gift?
Once again, it seems Catherine has an overactive imagination. The General has been shown to be harsh at times, but he has been nothing but kind and generous to Catherine. As for his not enjoying the walk, or hanging the picture, couldn’t it be that he just struggles with his grief? Then again, the man makes his children quieter. Perhaps he is not always kind, but probably not the monster Catherine has made up in her head.
I found this sentence to be quite comical. Catherine finally found out that her brother and friend Isabella were fond of each other. She suspected them to be in love from their encounter at the dance, but was pretty much waiting for Isabelle to finally say it. Austen wrote that “Catherine secretly acknowledged the power of love” since Catherine “had never in her life thought him as handsome”, describing her brother. So, she was that looks do not make the love. Austen, in all of her writings seemed to rush relationships, but her brother and Isabelle have taken it a little slower. Finally showing through what love actually is.
It is funny, isn’t it? How can one fall in love with a man who isn’t handsome?
Money’s not so important, huh?
Here Austen is declaring how every young lady should understand how her heroine feels in this “critical moment”; I agreed with her completely. When reading this paragraph Austen has the reader on edge. Catherine hopes to come in contact with the Tilney’s and avoid John Thorpe. Yet Austen leaves her reader disappointed because Catherine sees nothing of the Tilney’s. How much longer shall Austen keep Catherine and the readers waiting?
I really enjoyed the way that Austen described marriage in this piece. Catherine stated how marriage and dancing could not be described as one in the same, as Mr. Tilney thought they could be. Austen described how marriage is forever and “people that marry can never part”. When dancing though people are “in a long room for half and hour”, but then they part. Austen really shows her maturity here, as well as her age. She has really grown older in the understanding certain aspects such as marriage.
The relationship between Catherine and Isabella is somewhat confusing. Isabella in some ways seems almost obsessed or infatuated with Catherine, while Catherine at times seems to not pay any attention to what Isabella is saying. I do not know if this is just the way I am reading it, or if Austen meant for their relationship to come across this way. Either way, I am looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.
Meaning that Catherine will be able to furnish it soon, or that Henry is soon to marry someone?
I feel like the General is totally hinting that a lady is going to be present at the house sometime soon… perhaps, he approves of Catherine?
We can see here that Catherine does indeed have an overactive imagination when it comes to the Gothic and horrid, thinking that a ordinary old chest could hold something peculiar in it. Thankfully, despite her embarrassment (which suggests that Catherine is aware that she is being ridiculous), Miss Tilney does not seem affected by her guest’s actions. Do you think that this is a foreshadowing instant of Catherine’s future behavior at Northanger Abbey? Or, do you think she has learned her lesson by being caught?
I just noticed that Austen is pretty much abridging her own work and giving her reader the condensed version of Mrs. Thorpe’s character!
Why the secrecy, I wonder? This is not what I would expect from Eleanor.
July 27, 2016 at 7:06 PM
See in context
July 27, 2016 at 10:36 AM
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July 27, 2016 at 1:10 AM
July 27, 2016 at 12:42 AM
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