Thursday

Heroines... post four on Jane Austen

Heroines, beginning with Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen has the touch of a master in creating a main character and then putting her in a perfect situation, one that brings out the characteristics which define the heroine. With that, the main ingredients are set by which the tension of the story builds. For instance, today let’s briefly consider her book Northanger Abbey.

The heroine of this story is Catherine Morland, a naive country girl who is taken out into society for the first time by her family's childless neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Allen. In Bath — which is actually a place in England, despite how it might sound she meets Henry Tilney. This fine, witty young man comes from a wealthy family, and he is immediately captivated by Miss Morland's innocence and simple country manners. Henry’s father, who is more interested in money and position, is informed by someone that Catherine is to inherit a great fortune from Mr. Allen, but this is simply false.

As a true genius, Austen has made young Catherine an avid reader of Gothic stories, and this admits a closer look at her inexperience and simple-mindedness, not to mention creates a fertile ground for her wild imagination. When she is taken to the Tilney's home, Northanger
Abbey, which is an old monastery being done over in as modern a fashion as that time period would permit, the outward appearance and interior design is enough for Catherine to be carried away under the influence of her Gothic stories!

What will Miss Austen do now? Will love bloom between Henry and Catherine? ... or is to be strangled in the dark halls of
Northanger Abbey? With each time I read this tale, I grow more fond of the young heroine Catherine Morland and am sure you will too.
Noe