Jane Austen Northanger Abbey

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In Jane Austen’s book “Northanger Abbey”, one of the major themes and objectives within the novel is the nature and attitude of the society towards different genres of reading and literature. This essay will examine this theme according to the novel as a whole, the passage given and the devices with which Austen distinguishes her views on literature, as well as the views she has on characters which revolve around the theme of reading and literature. The essay will also examine the context behind the novel in terms of the status of reading and literature in that period of history in England and how this theme of reading and literature reflects on Austen’s broader theme within the novel. The attitude of Austen towards reading and writing can be seen throughout the novel, as she mostly satires the common traits of gothic novels (Flavin, 2004). Austen’s satirising of gothic novels is indicated to the reader in the first pages of the novel where Austen decisively describes the character of Catherine by making reference to the fact that Catherine’s character does not resemble that of a heroine in a gothic novel. An example of this type of reference can be seen in the first line of the novel where Austen states “no one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her fancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine” (Austen, 1983:pp1005.) The novel also includes a theme of ongoing mockery of gothic novel conventions as Austen describes Catherine’s family as normal. She goes so far as to state that Catherine’s father does not lock his daughters up, which is a typical convention which occurs in the gothic genre, thus mocking the forms of gothic novels and the highly predictable nature of these novels due to these forms (Flavin, 2004). In the passage given, the parody of gothic novels that Austen carries throughout the novel is illustrated, although it is not attacking or mocking these novels directly, Austen takes her satire of these novels further by stating several of...
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