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Northanger Abbey Essay

Summary of the “Northanger Abbey”

From the provided excerpt, it is evident that Tilney invited Catherine to spend several weeks with her and she was to stay in Northanger Abbey. Unfortunately, Catherine could hardly sleep due to strange illusions that engulfed the fateful night discussed in the passage.

Initially, she thought Northanger Abbey to be strange and scary since she had previously read about it in the novel. Evidently, Henry Tilney (Catherin’s friend) laughed at her regarding this issue. Later it became obvious that Northanger Abbey was an enjoyable place and not gothic as thought before.

However, there were some strange rooms within the building, in particular Mrs. Tilney’s rooms (Rosow, 2006). It was clear that nobody had ever gained access to those rooms.

When Catherine realized that the room belonged to Tilney’s wife, she started thinking that Tilney must have killed his wife and had kept her in a chamber. This fact explained the atrocities that Catherine faced during that night.

There were numerous things that disturbed Catherine, in particular that Tilney was not concerned about the death of his mother. She then became curious about what was in the room and asked Eleanor for some directives.

In some instances, Henry Tilney suddenly arrived before Eleanor could explain what had happened to her forcing Catherine to run away for fear of being punished. However later she found her way into the rooms and realized that there was nothing strange or frightening as she had thought before.

After that Henry found the girl in the corridor questioning her presence there. Now he came to know about Catherine’s fears and thoughts after which he explained to her that his father had been upset by his mother’s death.

In addition, he told Catherine that his father had loved his mother very much hence could not kill her (Rosow, 2006). These facts explain the sorrows and illusions exhibited in the provided excerpt.

Some of the Central Concerns of the “Northanger Abbey”

The “Northanger Abbey” has several concerns illustrated in the novel. Evidently, the place appeared very lovely. Besides it was crowded with some nicely dressed young girls. They had enough time to write letters and pay visits to some of the best houses around.

Consequently, these ladies found themselves getting married on time. Catherine Moorland (Northanger Abbey teenage star) considered getting married as well as getting closer with her family members. That was the first time Catherine was in unfamiliar environment and far from her relatives.

Being there she was trying to link up with new friends and adapt to the real world she had never seen before. That could be considered as an experience which almost everybody has come across.

A good example is when one is going to a new college, moving to a new town or country, or just gets a new job. Considered critically on should admit it being a crucial provision.

In case one visits Northanger Abbey for the first time, it is always troublesome to make good and trusted friends (Galperin, 2002). It could be considered a major concern according to the novel.

In the book, Catherine indulged in opposing rumors, manipulations, and incredible assumptions. For example, the college canteen was troubled by making wrong conclusions about people in general. Catherine’s conclusions were not different from those of the rest.

One can see that the literature she read brought about all these. From the novel, it is evident that almost every character is caught up making wrong judgments and assumptions at a given point.

The “Northanger Abbey” majorly dwells on the dangers and consequences of staying in the new strange places, or being raised in the new places, as well as falsely building new friendship relations (Galperin, 2002). The last concern one should point at in the “Northanger Abbey” is that the matter of relationship has not really changed much despite having been covered.

Nature of Austen’s Response to her Literary Context

Initially, there were numerous responses on the “Northanger Abbey”. Robert Hawkins had a feeling that the novel was more political comparing to some other Austen’s works. It is evident when one addresses affairs of state.

In addition, when he mentioned ‘General Tinley’ and ‘political gothic’, it was clearly proved that the novel considered political issues. Furthermore, Hawkins said that Tilney created some anxiety between history and poetry by making some comparisons between Beechem Hill and closure of forests (Rosow, 2006).

He also argued that this comparison made the reader match the fictions in the novel with the real historical context. He further said that the political context was evident when Tilney referred to the London food riots. Susannah Carson, another author who reviewed this book, argued that Catherine and Henry were not the right characters to be used in Austen’s novels.

Having managed to study literary heroine, she asserted that Catherine was hardly interested in studying nature. In comparison between the real life and the novel Jane (Tilney’s character) discovers that the first is, so to say, more Gothic than the second one (Galperin, 2002).


The content of the “Northanger Abbey” is easily predictable but entertaining as well. Such contrasts could be met in the other works written by Austen. The author introduces some characters in various parts of the novel.

The themes created are clearly demonstrated in various contexts (Galperin, 2002). It is important to understand these provisions with regard to the novel analysis. The studied novel also presents the idea that illusions might take a central place in various contexts.

Those who have enjoyed reading the other Austen’s works will definitely like the novel “Northanger Abbey”. However, this piece of literature has some very important qualities which are not found in the other Austen’s works like “Sense and Sensibilities” as well as “Pride and Prejudice”.

In particular, the “Northanger Abbey” reflects a real image of Austen. It shows everything she used to think of being important to her life at a given moment. Like many of Austen’s novels, this one clearly presents the kind of life people used to live in the late 1880’s.

After reading this novel, the reader can simply draw conclusions that there is no difference between the novel and the real life. The main character (Catherine), in most cases, was caught up seeing and making wrong conclusions on gothic symbols.

The “Northanger Abbey” describes what Catherine imagined to be more pronounced when at one point she thought that fiction was real. As clearly illustrated in the “Northanger Abbey”, Austen reveals Catherine’s character as being independent and strong.

She managed to sail through and finally got married despite all the misfortunes. After reading the book, the obvious issue is that the plot evolution is well brought up.


Galperin, H. (2002). The Historical Austen. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania press.

Rosow, V. (2006). Accessing the classics: great reads for adults, teens and English language learners. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

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1. IvyPanda. "Northanger Abbey." December 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/northanger-abbey/.


IvyPanda. "Northanger Abbey." December 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/northanger-abbey/.


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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Northanger Abbey'. 8 December.

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