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Published: 20-11-2019

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Romantic Themes in Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen is commonly viewed as anti-romantic, but her novel Northanger Abbey possesses and promotes numerous of the concepts prevalent in romantic literature. Heroine Catherine Morland is an specifically romantic character whose spontaneity, emotion, and sincerity eventually lead her to happiness. These traits, combined with a rejection of numerous classic concepts and a theme of individualism more than the norms of aristocratic society, develop a novel with a lot more romance than a single would usually ascribe to Austen.

Catherine’s spontaneity is one trait that makes her a romantic character. This trait becomes evident for the duration of Catherine’s conflicts with John Thorpe. Twice John forces Catherine to break her engagements to stroll with the Tilneys, and twice Catherine feels a sturdy impulse to right this wrongdoing as quickly as achievable. Even though prevented from acting upon this impulse the very first time, the second time she is in a position to act upon her whim and inform the Tilneys of what has actually occurred. So spontaneous is this choice that Catherine has provided little consideration to what she will say: “‘I am come in a excellent hurry- It was all a error- I by no means promised to go- I told them from the very first I could not go.- I ran away in a great hurry to explain it.- I did not care what you believed of me.- I would not keep for the servant’” (67- 68). Rather than becoming irritated by Catherine’s forcible entry into their apartment and her hasty explanation, the Tilneys reward her spontaneity by taking quick liking to her.

Catherine also shows that she follows her intuition, another romantic trait. Inspired by the numerous Gothic novels she has been reading, Catherine lets her imagination get the greater of her as she jumps to horrible conclusions about Common Tilney and his marriage she compiles a set of clues to convince herself he either murdered his wife or has her locked away in a secret chamber. “Catherine at times began at the boldness of her personal surmises,” Austen writes, “and sometimes hoped or feared that she had gone as well far” (p.133). Despite the fact that Catherine’s rush to judgment causes her some embarrassment later when she learns she was incorrect about the Basic, she later discovers that her intuition was right – the Common is a cruel man of questionable character.

An additional standard trait of the romantic character is a tendency to put on one’s heart on her sleeve, some thing Catherine clearly does. Her robust feelings stop any uncertainty as to what she is feeling. She gushes about the beauty of Henry’s residence in Woodston, a not-so-subtle suggestion that she would be delighted to reside there as Henry’s wife. Her unrestrained praise and happiness endear Catherine to the Tilneys the Common, in distinct, drops hints throughout the check out about his want to see Catherine and Henry wed.

On many occasions, Austen connects emotion to the romantic thought of appreciating nature. Although these instances are short and generally trivial, such as an orchard inspiring happiness in Catherine, one has particular significance. Catherine observes that she and Eleanor knowledge a specific path in a related way, as Eleanor “began to speak with easy gaiety of the delightful melancholy which such a grove inspired” (125). The Common is not similarly affected in truth, he shows wonderful distaste for a walk his wife once loved. His reaction leads Catherine to think he is coldhearted and incapable of correct enjoy. Without having her awareness of the path’s organic beauty and the emotions it inspires, Catherine would likely not have made this important realization about the General’s character.

Catherine’s sincerity is most likely her most critical romantic trait. She puts her whole heart into life, and this characteristic is what wins her Henry’s affection. Her most essential show of sincerity comes when Henry catches her snooping around the late Mrs. Tilney’s quarters. Catherine’s feelings toward Henry are so sincere that she is unable to lie to him with some prodding, she admits her suspicions about the General. Rather that scorn Catherine due to her unfounded accusations concerning his father, Henry’s affection for her appears to develop. He recognizes realizes Catherine has deeper feelings for him, and this recognition leads him to understand he has comparable emotions.

Northanger Abbey also endorses romantic values by displaying that the Thorpes, the least romantic household, end up unhappy and friendless at the novel’s conclusion. Isabella and John Thorpe see marriage merely as a indicates to boost social status. Spurned by Catherine, whom he pursued since he believed she was an heiress, John has ruined his reputation by the novel’s finish. Similarly, Isabella’s engagement with James ends soon after he learns that his modest earnings disappoints her. Hence both Thorpe kids shed their close friends and marriage prospects because they followed aristocratic norms – marriage for social status – rather of romantic ones.

The novel’s conclusion clearly promotes the romantic theme of individualism winning out more than aristocratic society. The Common dismisses Catherine from Northanger Abbey because she is not as wealthy as he believed her to be he does not want Henry to marry a girl from a family members so far beneath his. Henry reacts with strong individualism, turning against the values of society and wishes of his father. He declares that Catherine’s social status is of no concern to him ultimately he is loyal to romance, not the aristocracy. Among Catherine and Henry’s marriage and that of Eleanor and her unnamed gentleman, Jane Austen makes her most romantic statement of all – life can turn out happily ever soon after.

Catherine’s spontaneity, emotion, and sincerity capture Henry’s heart and lead him toward romantic individualism as nicely. Austen implies that by following one’s heart and acting sincerely, accurate happiness is a realistic possibility for any person. With this lesson in Northanger Abbey, Austen reveals herself to be more romantic than she is often portrayed.


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