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Catherine undergoes an educative process in Northanger Abbey(TM). How does Jane Austen direct her readers(TM) response to this

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Catherine undergoes an educative process in 'Northanger Abbey'. How does Jane Austen direct her readers' response to this? 'Northanger Abbey' opens with an immediate comparison between the main character, Catherine Morland and the typical gothic heroine. This introduction is then automatically entwined into a description of Catherine Morland in both her childhood state and the development that carried her into her adolescence. As a child Catherine Morland is described as possessing, "A thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair and strong features". Jane Austen also remarks on the large family that Catherine belongs to; Catherine is the fourth child after three sons'. A second description of Catherine is then carried out, one that corresponds with the time setting at the novels beginning. Austen describes Catherine as, "Appearances were mending; she began to curl her hair and long for balls; her complexion improved, her features were softened by plumpness and colour, her eyes gained more animation and her figure more consequence. Her love of dirt gave way to an inclination of finery". The last sentence, "Her love of dirt...." almost forces the reader to make an automatic comparison of Catherine as a young girl and when beginning to both mature and develop into her adolescence. In short Catherine Morland is Firstly presented to the reader as a pretty, na�ve, gullible and still maturing young girl. ...read more.


Catherine and Isabella meet in the pump room, when Isabella's widowed mother recognises Mrs Allen who happens to be an old friend. Both parties are severely lacking in acquaintances, so it's more a case of using one another. This is especially evident in the catch up Mrs Thorpe and Mrs Allen have, rather then friendly chat they converse purely to boast to one another. The reader is also exposed to the advantage of Catherine to Isabella, the Thorpes' think that the Morlands' are a rich family and so an advantage is seen when Catherine and Isabella become friends their friendship is seen to be used as more a bridge to get to Catherine's brother James Morland. Soon after the occurrence of the meeting in the pump room of Isabella and Catherine, Catherine is engaged to meet the Tilneys' and go on a walk with them. Before she is due to meet them, the Thorpes' arrive at where she's staying and she's persuaded to go with them on a carriage ride when John Thorpe tells her that they may go to see a gothic castle, Blaize castle and also that he saw the Tilneys' going the opposite way; out of town. Catherine ends up going with them and standing the Tilneys up. On the carriage ride with john however she sees the Tilneys' and realises john was lying. ...read more.


I think that the relationships she creates with both Henry Tilney and Miss Tilney are incredibly important in Catherine growing up because it supplies her with two good influences. Miss Tilney is described well, i.e. in a way more positive way then in which Isabella is portrayed, the reader sees the contrast between Isabella and Miss Tilney in an inevitable way. Henry and Catherine, as previously said go through the process of falling in love. Austen isn't shy in expressing the resentment she shows towards Catherine's character; in Austen's era it was common practise that intelligent men marry witless women to highlight their vanity. Due to this Austen never married and so Catherine's character holds a principal that meant a lot to Austen. After Catherine became more sceptical of Isabella and became more apparent of the manipulation that she saw Isabella practise, as a result she became more aware when she came across materialistic and shallow people. She also began to find that she trusted those around her, Catherine, overall Catherine gained the maturity to judge herself and question her personality flaws. Catherine herself enjoys reading gothic novels. She imagines that she herself is in a gothic novel sometimes; for example, "the mysterious chest" (in volume two), her memory constantly runs away with her in the novel and its as if she's almost trying to be a heroine in adding gothic like spins on normal things. ...read more.

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