Catherine Morland's Coming Of Age In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

1505 words - 6 pages

Catherine Morland's Coming of Age in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen's intelligence and sophisticated diction made her a revolutionary author, and her mastery surpasses most modern authors. By challenging conventional stereotypes in her novels, she gives the open-minded reader a new perspective through the message she conveys. Her first novel, Northanger Abbey, focuses on reading. However, she parallels typical novel reading with the reading of people. Catherine Morland's coming of age hinges on her ability to become a better reader of both novels and people.

Austen first introduces Catherine as an unlikely heroine: "No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be [a] heroine" (13). This is the introductory line of Austen's first book, giving the reader the responsibility to realize this is a novel by stating Catherine's heroism. This is important for the reader to understand because Catherine, who loves to read fiction, considers herself to be a heroine in a gothic novel. Therefore, this sets the tone of the story as the reader recognizes the metaphorical gap between the ideal fictional heroine and the flawed Catherine Morland.

The modern reader must be aware that, at this point in literary history, the novel was looked down upon as an inferior form of literature, particularly because of the grim and sensational content of gothic novels. Therefore, Austen finds it necessary to argue the vital importance of the novel:

"Oh! it is only a novel!" replies the young lady; while she lays down her book with momentary shame--"It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda;" or, in short, only some work in which the thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language. (34)

Austen has set out to save the rising art form of the novel. In this address to the reader she glorifies what a novel should be: the unrestrained expression of words conveying the wide range of raw human emotion. This veneration of the novel is necessary to the development of Catherine's fiction-loving character as it justifies the narrator's right to remain fond of this flawed heroine.

In the next chapter, a very enthusiastic Catherine and her supposed best friend, Isabella Thorpe, discuss the classic gothic novel, Mysteries of Udolpho. Catherine becomes so engulfed in this novel she remarks:

"But while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if nobody could make me miserable. Oh! the dreadful black veil! My dear Isabella, I am sure there must be Laurentina's skeleton behind it." (38)

Catherine is so wrapped up in her fictional world of reading that she becomes ignorant of her real life issues with Henry Tilney, for whom she has been love-struck since their introduction. She entertains herself with wild imaginings about his life and family. Catherine's imaginings foreshadow her eager desire...

Find Another Essay On Catherine Morland's Coming of Age in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

Authenticity in Northanger Abbey Essay

1556 words - 6 pages Northanger Abbey:  Authenticity         In what is for Jane Austen an uncharacteristically direct intervention, the narrator of Northanger Abbey remarks near the end: "The anxiety, which in the state of their attachment must be the portion of Henry and Catherine, and of all who loved either, as to its final event, can hardly extend, I fear, to the bosom of my readers, who will see in the tell-tale compression of the pages before them

Sympathetic Imagination in Northanger Abbey Essay

3097 words - 12 pages illustrate the importance of the idea of candour as a thematic concern in Northanger Abbey. Finally I will consider Jane Austen's equivocal attitude to the quality of candour as it is evidenced in Northanger Abbey, with the intention of being able to judge whether or not by the end of the novel Austen regards candour as a good or bad quality with which to be endowed. Catherine Morland's candour gains her the friendship of Henry and Eleanor Tilney

Three Main Environments of Northanger Abbey

816 words - 3 pages There are three main environments in which the novel, Northanger Abbey, is set. The initial location is Fullerton and it is from here Catherine begins her journey. This is also the place to which Catherine returns at the end of the narrative. By the very fact that Fullerton is located at the start and the end of Catherine's journey, it can be used as a comparison with the other locations in the novel. Catherine wants to leave

Coming of Age in Mississippi

1102 words - 4 pages immediately redirected to a subject less controversial. If Anne wanted to figure any of these issues out, she was going to have to do it on her own. At this point, Anne found herself searching for answers. Not only about racial tensions but about her developing body. She was entering a new phase in her life, where 1 Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi(New York: Laurel, 1968), her body was gaining a lot of attention. This left Anne feeling

Coming Of Age In Mississippi

1739 words - 7 pages "Coming of Age in Mississippi" "Coming of Age in Mississippi" was an autobiography written by a Negro named Anne Moody. She grew up in a small town named Centerville where poverty mainly struck the blacks. Anne Moody was a courageous woman who challenged her racist society during the mid-decades of the nineties and survived with pride. She endured poverty, threats, arson, police brutality, lynching, rights demonstrations, and violence to prove

Coming of Age in Mississippi

1091 words - 5 pages Coming of Age in Mississippi Coming of Age in Mississippi by Ann Moody is detailing the experiences while growing up as a black woman in rural Mississippi before and during the civil rights movement. The memoir covers Ann’s life from her childhood to adulthood. It provides a fascinating glance at the lives of Negroes working in the plantations several years before the start of civil rights movement. It clearly outlines the poverty, desperation

coming of age in samoa

1703 words - 7 pages Coming of Age in Somoa Margaret Mead’s “Coming of Age in Samoa”, which was actually her doctoral dissertation, was compiled in a period of six months starting in 1925. Through it, people were given a look at a society not affected by the problems of 20th century industrial America. She illustrated a picture of a society where love was available for the asking and crime was dealt with by exchanging a few mats. This book helps one to realize

Coming Of Age In Mississippi

1433 words - 6 pages Coming of Age in Mississippi is an eye-opening testimony to the racism that exemplified what it was like to be an African American living in the south before and after the civil rights movements in the 50's and 60's. African Americans had been given voting and citizen rights, but did not and to a certain degree, still can not enjoy these rights. The southern economy that Anne Moody was born into in the 40's was one that was governed and

Coming of Age in Mississippi

642 words - 3 pages conditions were in the south and all over America for blacks. I never really thought much of it, like many kids my age, because it never affected me. I’ve been told by teachers, speakers, and whoever else my school would bring in to tell us about what it was like for blacks back in the 1940’s and the 1950’s. After I read the book, Coming of Age in Mississippi, I realized what it was really like for blacks back then. I never realized what it was

Coming Of Age In Mississippi

2255 words - 9 pages :Coming of Age in Mississippi; is a book written by Anne Moody. In the book, Moody told her personal story which gave readers an overview of what it was to have grown up as a black in the South of America, especially as a black woman, during the forties and fifties. :Coming of Age; is a term which demonstrates that Moody had grown up as a black woman through her Childhood, High School and College. As she became more

Views of Marriage in Jane Austen's Emma

857 words - 3 pages Views of Marriage in Jane Austen's Emma The dominant theme that constantly runs through this novel is that of marriage. All of the important activities of the novel are focused around various attempts from Emma, to arrange them, prevent them, or hinder them; this idea is empathized in both chapter 1, where Emma replies in discussion to Miss Taylor's marriage "I made up my mind on the subject. I planned the match from that hour", and in

Similar Essays

A Discussion On The Development Of Catherine Morland's Character During Her Stay At Northanger Abbey . (Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen)

2035 words - 8 pages social issues: the folly of letting literature get in the way of life, the inexcusability of not thinking for oneself, the painful difficulties involved - especially for women- in growing up" (Castle, 28).ReferencesAusten, J. Northanger Abbey. Hungary: Könemann, 1999.Brownstein, R.M "Northager Abbey, Sense and sensibility, Pride and Prejudice". The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. Eds. Edward Copeland & Juliet McMaster. Cambridge

Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Essay

1669 words - 7 pages The Female Bildungsroman      Like other Jane Austen novels, such as Emma or Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey’s primary trajectory is the development of the main female character. Even though Catherine Morland is not a typical female Bildungsroman, her realizations in who she is and who she is becoming are very evident throughout the novel. Webster’s Dictionary defines the Bildungsroman as “a novel which traces the

Gothic Elements:The Castle Of Otranto By Walpole And A Scene In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

1645 words - 7 pages Austen is just using common gothic imagery and description to satirize what readers of gothic novels expect to see when they visit an abbey. It illustrates how Austen feels about the gothic. She feels as though it is nice to read, but it’s not reality. In final, the contrast between traditional gothic tropes and the parody of the gothic is very evident in Horace Walpole’s novel The Castle of Otranto and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Through the

Jane Austen's Ironic Character: Catherine Morland

1024 words - 5 pages Since Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is a comedic satire, it relies on irony. Irony is the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, usually for humorous or emphatic effect. Although Austen uses irony in all of her characters in this novel, Catherine Morland is seen as one of the most ironic characters. Irony is used to portray Catherine as the unheroic heroine, the comedic figure, and the distorter of