Jane Austen's Nothanger Abbey Essay

Jane Austen's Nothanger Abbey Essay

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Jane Austen’s Nothanger Abbey is a unique work unlike many other early 19th century novels. It is clear the author was aware of her audience and it can be argued that Austen had, in a sense, created a new breed of character within a new breed of novel. Catherine Morland, through her coming of age tale, is a completely believable and realistic character, challenging the way readers typically related to the characters in their novels. Throughout her journey, Catherine experiences excitements, disappointments and even struggles that avid readers, such as her, can easily relate to. Jane Austen strategically employs the use of various narrative techniques throughout her work, which also allow the reader to grasp greater insight into the mind of their heroine; they begin to become familiar with Catherine and even develop a relationship with and an attachment for her. Furthermore, to reinforce the development of a connection between her readers and characters, Austen establishes a new novel form, scattering her work, Northanger Abbey, throughout with gothic elements. Altogether, through her unique, believable characters, her narrative strategies and her eye for gothic features and challenging the norm, Jane Austen successfully established a classic, timeless novel.
In Northanger Abbey’s protagonist, Catherine Morland, Jane Austen invented an entirely new breed of character. Strategically, the author wrote herself into the book. Austen explores the struggles of a young reader: deciphering between reality and the fictional world of novels, a struggle she has experienced firsthand. It is blatantly obvious that Catherine is a passionate reader from Austen’s repeated references to classical novels, in addition to her well-known defe...


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...ability to take them away, to another world. Yet, through Catherine, they are reminded that they leave behind reality and, at some point, they must return and distinguish between fiction and realism.
Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a unique piece of literature that has earned the right to stand on its own. Through it, she strategically designed a new form of character within a new form of novel. She employs the use of her own experiences and tactically combines it with her novel characters, especially Catherine Morland, her clever narrative style and her distinctive use of gothic imagery to challenge her readers. She causes her readers to turn their judgments upon themselves, realizes that at some point in their lives, they have walked a mile in Catherine’s shoes.




Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey. New York: Oxford University Press. 2003. 5-187.

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