Essay on Three Main Environments of Northanger Abbey

Essay on Three Main Environments of Northanger Abbey

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There are three main environments in which the novel, Northanger
Abbey, is set.

The initial location is Fullerton and it is from here Catherine begins
her journey. This is also the place to which Catherine returns at the
end of the narrative. By the very fact that Fullerton is located at
the start and the end of Catherine's journey, it can be used as a
comparison with the other locations in the novel.

Catherine wants to leave Fullerton, as it is not exciting enough and
certainly not as glamorous a place as the second location, Bath.
Indeed, the Allens, who own the majority of the land in Fullerton, are
happy to spend much of the year socialising in Bath. Mrs Allen takes
Catherine to Bath because "adventures do not befall a young lady in
her own village". Although Catherine has a strong desire for adventure
and may exaggerate the "sleepiness" of Fullerton, it does seem to be a
quiet and sedate place. There is little opportunity for her to meet
new people of her own age and social class and it appears that nothing
of any note ever happens.

Fullerton, does however, have positive attributes. It is the home of
Catherine's family, who are a stable and supportive unit. The people
of Fullerton are more genuine than in Bath as the permanent residences
require them to be sincere and eradicate the opportunity for the kind
of trickery Catherine encounters from Isabella Thorpe in Bath.

The second focal environment is Bath. The comparison with Fullerton
highlights the fact that Bath is an exciting place, a place filled
with visitors, rather than residents. This creates an air of
falseness, which is ironic as Bath is the genuine geographical
location, as opposed to Fullerton, which is fictional. Bath is a place ...


... middle of paper ...


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adventure. Bath is the place of fun and amusement, but also a place of
deception and dishonesty. It is the place where Catherine learns about
the harsher aspects of life through Isabella's trickery and
superficiality. In Northanger, once she is put right about her
fictitious imagined mystery regarding Mrs Tilney, Catherine finds
friendship in this solid and comfortable environment. It is also the
place where she learns of Isabella's deceit and this emphasises the
positive and truthful aspects of Northanger.

On returning to Fullerton, Catherine finds warmth and comfort in her
family after the hurt caused from the past deception. Fullerton
becomes a more exciting place with arrival of Henry and his proposal
of marriage.

Thus Austen uses the 3 principle locations to highlight ideals and
underline the transitions throughout the novel in Catherine's life.

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