Evil Villains in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Essay

Evil Villains in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Essay

Length: 1322 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Evil Villains in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen


In Jane Austen’s, Northanger Abbey, John Thorpe and General Tilney are portrayed as unpleasant villains. Villains are defined as, “a wicked or evil person; a scoundrel” (The American Heritage Dictionary http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=VILLAIN). Austen description of both men as power-hungry, easily upset, and manipulative follows this definition. She introduces both characters in separate parts of the book, however simultaneously she delivers a stunning example of their identical villainous personalities. Through the portrayal of John Thorpe and General Tilney as villains, Austen comments on the male supremacy that permeates through her time.
In the first half of the novel, John Thorpe stands out as the villain of the novel. He is introduced as a, “stout young man of middling height, who, with a plain face and ungraceful form, seemed fearful of being too handsome unless he wore the dress of a groom, and to much like a gentleman unless he were easy where he ought to be civil, and imprudent where he might be allowed to be easy” (Austen 25). Following the initial description, John is introduced to Catherine. Rather than engaging in personable dialogue, he brags about the quality and speed of his horses, his authority on ascertaining distances, and his proficiency in leading his horses. Immediately, the reader is struck with the similarity of John to an immature ‘schoolboy’. Although Austen continues to portray John as juvenile, she does not develop him into the villain until later in the novel.
While Catherine’s love grows for her hero, Henry Tilney, John also develops affection for Catherine. During this struggle for Catherine’s love, John begins to mature into the ‘classic villain.’ For example, during a normal evening at the ball, Catherine had promises to dance with Henry Tilney. However, Thorpe approaches Catherine and declares, “What is the meaning of this? - I thought you and I were to dance together” (Austen 46). Catherine is flustered since this declaration is false. After a barrage of half-truths, John once again talks about his beloved horses and his knowledge of them. Suddenly without any type of closure, he is wisped away by the “resistless pressure of a long string of passing ladies” (Austen 47). In this section of the novel, John Thorpe quickly becomes dislikeable and Jan...


... middle of paper ...


... that she came from a wealthy family of consequence. However, when the General bumps into John during Catherine’s visit at Northanger Abbey, John amends his story. Bitter that Catherine had fallen in love with Henry and rejected him, he changes his entire story and tells the General she only from a middle class family.
Jane Austen completes her story with a “Cinderella ending” of Catherine and Henry marrying. However, her novel is more than a fairytale ending. Although often wrong and misguided in their judgments, she shows the supremacy of males that permeated throughout her society. Jane Austen takes us from a portrayal of men as rude, self-centered, and opinionate to uncaring, demanding, and lying to downright ruthless, hurtful, and evil. John Thorpe’s and General Tilney’s total disregard for others feelings and their villainous ways prove Austen’s point. Whether reading Northanger Abbey for the happy ending or the moral lesson, this novel has much to offer.

Bibliography

The American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition. 9 November 2000. 4 March 2002. http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=VILLAIN

Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Classics.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about `` Northanger Abbey `` By Jane Austen

- Jane Austen’s novel, “Northanger Abbey” was written in 1797-98 and wasn’t published at London after her death in 1818. The novel is about a teenage girl, never been far away from home, Catherine goes on an adventure to Bath, unexpectedly ending up falling for Henry Tilney. Invited by the Tilney to visit their home at Northanger Abbey, Catherine became uneasy with an mystery instinct, like the mystery novels she read, of General Tilney, Henry’s father, possibility hiding dark secrets of neglecting his wife and caused her death....   [tags: Jane Austen, Novel, Northanger Abbey, Fable]

Strong Essays
1004 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about Jane Austen 's Northanger Abbey

- Feminine identity is formed according to many definitions and includes many factors such as personality, role, circumstance, and social class. We hope to condense the definition of what is conventionally female by analyzing reoccurring feminine behaviors within the context of their time. Femininity can be referred to as “the quality or nature of the female gender” (Merriam Webster). In Jane Austen 's Northanger Abbey, we can connect the traits among several female characters to gain a perspective of the roles and expectations of English women living in a privileged society during the 1800s....   [tags: Gender, Woman, Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen]

Strong Essays
1810 words (5.2 pages)

Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Essay

- Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is essentially the “coming of age” story of Catherine Morland, a sympathetic yet naïve young girl who spends some time away from home at the impressionable age of seventeen. As Catherine matures in the town of Bath and at Northanger Abbey, she learns to forgo immature childhood fantasies in favor of the solid realities of adult life, thus separating falsehood from truth. This theme is expressed in a couple of ways, most obviously when Catherine’s infatuation with Gothic novels causes her to nearly ruin her relationship with Henry Tilney: her imagination finally goes too far, and she wrongly suspects General Tilney of murdering h...   [tags: Jane Austen Northanger Abbey Essays]

Strong Essays
1599 words (4.6 pages)

Austen's Northanger Abbey and Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner Essay

- The Uncanny Works of Austen's Northanger Abbey and Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner   In order to discuss the literature of the uncanny we must first be able to define "uncanny", and trying to grasp a firm understanding of the term "uncanny" is problematic; since as accepted reference works such as the Oxford English Dictionary filter down into popular culture the meaning subtly alters, or becomes drawn towards only one aspect of what was originally a much broader definition. To illustrate this, the Oxford Complete Wordfinder, Reader's Digest (1999), defines: "uncanny adj....   [tags: Austen Northanger Abbey Essays]

Strong Essays
2431 words (6.9 pages)

Balance Between Sense and Sensibility in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

- Balance Between Sense and Sensibility in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Throughout her novel, Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen integrates parody with characterization to emphasize the necessity of a balance between sense and sensibility while reflecting a theme of the initiation of a young woman into the complexities of adult social life. This novel can be traced back as one of Jane Austen's earliest works. It was written in 1798, but not published until 1818, and is an excellent example of what Austen believed a novel should not be....   [tags: Austen Northanger Abbey Essays]

Strong Essays
2315 words (6.6 pages)

Sympathetic Imagination in Northanger Abbey Essay

- Sympathetic Imagination in Northanger Abbey     Critics as well as the characters in the novel Northanger Abbey have noticed Catherine Morland's artlessness, and commented upon it. In this essay I have chosen to utilise the names given to Catherine's unworldliness by A. Walton Litz in Jane Austen: a Study of her Artistic Development,[1] and Christopher Gillie in A Preface to Jane Austen.[2] Litz refers to "what the eighteenth century would have called the sympathetic imagination, that faculty which promotes benevolence and generosity" (Litz, p....   [tags: Northanger Abbey]

Strong Essays
3053 words (8.7 pages)

Authenticity in Northanger Abbey Essay

- Northanger Abbey:  Authenticity         In what is for Jane Austen an uncharacteristically direct intervention, the narrator of Northanger Abbey remarks near the end: "The anxiety, which in the state of their attachment must be the portion of Henry and Catherine, and of all who loved either, as to its final event, can hardly extend, I fear, to the bosom of my readers, who will see in the tell-tale compression of the pages before them, that we are all hastening together to perfect felicity." As far as I know this is the only overt reference Austen ever makes to the material nature of her medium, and the relationship of that materiality to generic conventions....   [tags: Northanger Abbey]

Strong Essays
1529 words (4.4 pages)

Catherine Morland's Coming of Age in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Essay

- Catherine Morland's Coming of Age in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Jane Austen's intelligence and sophisticated diction made her a revolutionary author, and her mastery surpasses most modern authors. By challenging conventional stereotypes in her novels, she gives the open-minded reader a new perspective through the message she conveys. Her first novel, Northanger Abbey, focuses on reading. However, she parallels typical novel reading with the reading of people. Catherine Morland's coming of age hinges on her ability to become a better reader of both novels and people....   [tags: Northanger Abbey Essays]

Strong Essays
1527 words (4.4 pages)

Comparing Northanger Abbey and Frankenstein Essay

- When authors write a story they “tell a particular story to a particular audience in a particular situation for, presumably, a particular purpose” (Phelan 4). Northanger Abbey and Frankenstein came out in the same year, were both gothic novels, and were both written by female authors. Despite these similarities, the two authors produced very different works of fiction and have very different authorial intentions for their stories. Austen and Shelley both use gothic elements to portray their purpose for their stories....   [tags: Northanger Abbey Frankenstein Shelley]

Strong Essays
1787 words (5.1 pages)

Essay about Tom Jones and Northanger Abbey Legitimize Fiction Writing

-    The early modern novel had no definite divisions between fantasy and realism. Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, for instance, has universal appeal in that it deals with and develops real moral and psychological issues, but the narrative still depends upon extraordinary settings and events (Konigsberg 18). Also, Defoe used a fictional "editor," and preface, among other things, to make his work seem like an authentic document and therefore a worthwhile read. As the literary form evolved, novelists began to separate from fantasy, interested more in creating plausible characters and situations than asserting their "truth" with fictional documents....   [tags: Northanger Abbey Essays]

Strong Essays
1461 words (4.2 pages)