Themes of Northanger Abbey

Topics: Jane Austen, Gothic fiction, The Monk Pages: 4 (1325 words) Published: April 4, 2007
Themes of Northanger Abbey
In Spacks essay, she discusses the fact that Northanger Abbey parodies the romantic Gothic novels of that time. She also argues about the generational conflict, and the characters use of imagination to promote their growth and maturity. She states that the growth takes place through "involvement and imagination"(303). I agree with Spacks by saying that there is plenty of imagination involved in this novel but in Catherine's case, I believe that her growth has more to do with her experiences. The involvement that Catherine has with General Tilney is crucial because she learns from him. She learns that good people could also have a bad side. There is definitely an issue of personal experience to the perception of the world. Spacks states "Austin reveals significant separation from the important truths of experience" (304). Spacks also states that Mrs. Allen ignores the feelings of others because of her preoccupation to the muslin way of life. Her life is set up around a fantasy-based world. At the same time, General Tilney is in a dream world of his own. He is often unable to decipher the facts and the fiction of people's visions. Even the best-represented woman in the novel, Mrs. Morland, is in a fantasy world of her own. Her views on morality coincide not with her perception but with her assumptions.

Northanger Abbey is about Catherine's journey from childhood to womanhood, a journey that is influenced by the Gothic novels that she reads throughout the story. The novel's heroine Catherine shows the signs of evil within humans as she concocts stories about the so-called villain General Tilney. After being led through the abbey, Catherine begins to suspect something unnatural. "The General's evident desire of preventing such an examination was an additional stimulant. Something was certainly to be concealed"(128). She comes to the conclusion that he is hiding the body Mrs. Tilney. I believe this is when Catherine's...
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