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Northanger Abbey

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"Northanger Abbey" just an immature parody of the Gothic genre or is there more to it than that. 'Northanger Abbey' (originally titled 'Susan') is Jane Austen's first novel that was written in 1798 when she was only twenty three or twenty four. The book is a 'coming of age' story based around the character Catherine. The novel showed the adventures of the protagonist as she meets a larger society while on a holiday at Baths with the Allens (family friends) and then later at the Tilneys' home. 'Northanger Abbey' is a type of gothic fiction, which was not surprising as it was very popular during Austen's time. The gothic genre deals with extreme emotions, such as terror and love, and dark ideas by using a range of scary vocabulary, typical gothic settings and gloomy weather. However, 'Northanger Abbey' is not like all the other gothic fiction as it parodies a few gothic books. In this essay, I intend to explain if 'Northanger Abbey' is just an immature parody of the Gothic genre or is there more to it. To begin with, where did the main theme of Austen's book come from? The origin of gothic idea was believed to be in one of the Germanic tribes that helped in the breakdown of the Roman Empire in the 4th century. The tribe, of which some of the people settled in the British Isles as the Anglo Saxons, were well-known for their love of liberty and political change. ...read more.


Henry Tilney, who is aware of Catherine's fascination on gothic novels, takes advantage of that knowledge and spoofs a gothic setting of the abbey for Catherine. The reader can already spot that Catherine is very interest in what Henry is saying as she speaks little or if she does she replies with a 'But this cannot really happen to me?' Catherine's reply shows that she does have a longing for a gothic drama to take place as she said the phrase questioningly, which shows she doubts nothing with happen at a building like Northanger abbey which she has yet to see. During Catherine's first night at the Tilneys' home, she has a gothic encounter with a 'curious old chest' and a 'mysterious cabinet'. She questions herself on what the chest may be holding and she starts to shake with fear. Catherine's suspicion on random furniture always shows the Catherine wants to be part of a gothic novel of her own and that she is now forcing herself to be terrified and suspicious. However, when Miss Morland jumps to the conclusion that General Tilney has murdered his own wife, the reader knows that Catherine has let her thoughts carry her too far. Fortunately, when is has an uneasy confrontation by Henry, who knows Catherine well, it puts an end to Catherine's need for drama. By the end of the book, Catherine is able to accept what is reality and what only happens in novels. ...read more.


Nonetheless, Jane Austen may have avoided having too many 'unfitted' writings in the book by having her protagonist articulate it out for her. Throughout the book, there are occasions in the book where Catherine and Henry. Such as when the friends went to Beechen Cliff, Catherine speaks out for most women when she says that writing does not seem to interest her while Henry talks about both sides. At the time of Jane Austen, women were not as well educated as today but in the Catherine had a desire to be intelligent. Was that the same with other women? In summary, Austen's 'Northanger Abbey' has both a novel and opinions. In conclusion, 'Northanger Abbey' is more that just a gothic parody. Austen use of the gothic parody did further than humor the audience by bringing out the absurdness of a normal gothic fiction. She used the genre to show people can be bought together and she used to develop Catherine's character from a 'less than heroine status' to 'marriage material'. Moreover, I believe that Jane Austen's novel is an indirect older version of 'The Simpsons'. It uses stereotypes to bring out thoughts and actions of actual people of her time and makes fun of the gothic genre to give us a moral. It is a parody that people, similar to Catherine, can relate to the novel as many people would have suffered paranoia after watching or reading a horror. ...read more.

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