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Satisfactory Essays
A woman being stripped of all rights and power besides the hope of attracting men seems almost inconceivable in modern days, but Jane Austen’s period beholds women as mere objects of desire with their success relying on beauty and docility. A lack of these qualities leaves them spouseless and thus, in their patriarchal society, powerless. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen exemplifies this degrading society of women who display scarcely any power, intelligence or ambition and who are judged solely on the qualities that make them worthy of marriage. However, Austen introduces a character that differs in her way of thinking and utilizes strength and power as a means of progression rather than sex appeal and ignorant compliance. Catherine embodies feminism with her unwillingness to conform to society’s standards of females and in her eagerness to speak her mind and pursue her desires.

As there are many variations within the definition of feminism, I will begin by laying out the definition of feminism that applies to Catherine Morland. Merriam-Webster defines feminism as being “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities”. A feminist woman is one who defies the social norms of reliance on men for advancement and instead claims power over her own life. A feminist woman will recognize her desires and refuse to depend on a man for their fulfillment. In like manner, Catherine Morland differs from her female peers in her tendencies to assume society designated male qualities. She acts with intelligence, self-confidence and ambition, a stark contrast to the docile, compliant females of her community.

Although Catherine develops favorably from her boyish adolescence, she never achieves stunning beauty, but rath...

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... also as a female she’s defying her culture in being the one to select the partner. Although the general realizes later that his notions on the Morland family were false, Catherine still carries the satisfaction of singlehandedly realizing the desires that so blatantly oppose societal norms.

Catherine portrays feminism as she disengages herself from the socially accepted image of women and refuses to be dominated by the male race. She differs from the female characters of this novel in her tendencies to push the boundaries of her gender by expressing herself and pursuing that which she desires without dependence on men. She refuses to be suppressed by the males in her society and treats them as equals. Catherine is a woman far too advanced for her times, but where would modern society be without the free thinkers of the past?

Works Cited

Northanger Abbey
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