Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

The Characterization Of Catherine Morland And Details Of Her Experiences As Criticism Of The Gothic Novel
Jane Austen consciously refers to and comments on the standards and conventions of the gothic genre in her novel Northanger Abbey. Throughout the entire narrative she portrays her main character, Catherine Morland, as ordinary and the opposite of the heroines customarily seen in the gothic novels of the time. ?She (Catherine) never could learn or understand any thing before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid? (13). This purposely uses anti-heroic language to demonstrate how Catherine is not unlike the common young female of her time, contrary to female protagonists of gothic novels. Austen ironically uses a hyperbolic diction to show just how far Catherine Morland is from being extraordinary, as she explains that for Catherine ?To look almost pretty, is an acquisition of higher delight?than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive?(14). Austen is exaggerating to the point of humor as she brings a lot of attention to such a mundane compliment given from a father to his daughter.
The characterization of Catherine Morland serves to direct the

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