The Real Northanger Abby

I found Northanger Abbey to be particularly interesting. It seemed so “common” to me that I didn’t even know what way to approach this post. Although Austen seems to be sarcastically portraying Catherine as a young woman who misinterprets everything, makes a fool of herself as she fights the tumultuous battle of love with Henry, as well as, makes false accusations based on her intellectual mind. I don’t know if Austen does this on purpose but from my perspective she captures an accurate portrayal of most women in today’s day and age.


Her constant obsession with Henry and her rejection of John in contrast with her falsifying feelings of love towards him sound relatively familiar to an insecure woman of only 17 years of age. She is very indecisive and seems like a coward when she fails to simply say “no” to John multiple times. This makes her seem like a reckless character, when in fact, I ma a firm believer she knows exactly what she wants and what she is doing. Isabella is a completely different person morally than Catherine. Although Isabella seems very fabricated and Austen is once again making women out to be materialistic, unintelligent, and fake, this is also something that is an accurate portrayal of women. Not to say that all woman are like that, how many times do we hear about women being “gold diggers?” This is something very common and apparently it is common throughout history as well.


Women are the main attraction for characters to be criticized in this novel but the men are just as confused and almost ‘annoying’ in their sense of pompous portrayals and patronizing acts. John is very persistent on his path to get Catherine’s attention and win her love. The one thing I don’t know is how serious he is about his actually ‘love for her’ or whether he is loving the challenge of not being able to “woo” her. The novel seems to have many different themes and portrayals of “good and bad”, “nice and conceited” men and women. This can relate to the facts that ‘no one is perfect’ and ‘everyone is different.’ This novel is very entertaining and I really enjoyed it.


One thought on “The Real Northanger Abby

  1. I definitely agree with your argument that the character flaws are Austen’s way of pointing out the flaws of society as a whole, especially with the women in this novel. I think that it is a sign of intelligence that Austen is able to almost poke fun at the flaws of women including indecisiveness in Catherine as well as selfishness in Isabella. I think that if Austen would have tried to write this novel where the women were all perfect, care-free citizens, the reader would get a feeling of fakeness and this would make Austen seem incompetent as a writer. I feel like it was a lot less common during this time for men to write about some of the major flaws of men during this time.

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