Jane Austen’s first novel, Northanger Abbey—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen’s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical Northanger Abbey pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex. (From feedbooks.com)
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Read the advertisement on the previous page. What do you learn about Austen from her introduction to her book?
Jane Austen was one of the earliest British female novelists and became the most well-known in her time. "Northanger Abbey" was her first novel to be completed but was published well after she had achieved fame.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,And waste its sweetness on the desert air.Thomas Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard" is one of the readings to which Catherine refers. What do you think she learns from these lines?
The tone of a literary work is the perspective or attitude that the author adopts with regards to a specific character, place or development. The video explains how an author uses tone and mood to develop a narrative. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the narrator's tone when describing the family's behavior at Catherine's departure?
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What interests Mrs. Allen?
According to the narrator, what is Catherine's role in the text?
The narrator again assumes a satirical tone in the conversation between Henry and Catherine. Henry makes fun of the conventions of small talk.
In the videoclip, Henry returns with Mr. King, the master of ceremonies for the ball. What social convention does this scene satirize?
Henry flirts with Catherine. It is obvious that he enjoys her company. (This annotation contains a video)
The Pump Room was a place to mingle in the company of important people in England’s society. It was one of the most important places in Bath. (This annotation contains an image)
Isabella Thorpe is
Jane Austen is referring to The Royal Crescent in Bath which was, and still is, a pleasant place to promenade. It has wonderful views across the city due to the open prospect it commands. (This annotation contains an image)
Curricles were two-wheeled carriages large enough for a driver and a pair of matched horses. (This annotation contains an image)
Joseph Addison and Richard Steele’s "The Spectator" was among the most popular and influential literary periodicals in England in the eighteenth century.
Isabella lists seven Gothic novels that she wants Catherine to read. These books were popular at the time. Pay attention to allusions to Gothic novels in the text. (This annotation contains a video)
Catherine refers to “The History of Sir Charles Grandison”, an epistolary novel by Samuel Richardson published in seven volumes in 1754.
Why does Isabella decide to go to look at her new hat?
Devoirs refers to one's duties. What does Catherine fail to notice when James pays his respect, or devoirs, to Isabella?
What does John Thorpe's conversation reveal about him?
Catherine does not trust her judgment. She relies instead on Isabella's views.
Why is Catherine upset with John Thorpe?
Why does Isabella refuse a second dance with James?
In this sentence, incommoded means Catherine is
Thorpe is very superficial and concerned with appearances.
What effect does Thorpe's rambling have on Catherine?
Isabella does not actually say these words or express these thoughts. They are an example of free indirect discourse. The narrative moves back and forth between the narrator telling us what the character is thinking and showing us the character’s conscious thoughts, without denoting which thought belongs to whom.
Though she is not really aware of it, Catherine is changing. She is becoming more perceptive. The video will help you understand how the way characters develop contributes to the plot of a narrative. (This annotation contains a video)
Why do Catherine's questions about Henry reveal?
According to Henry, how is marriage similar to a country-dance?
The video clip shows the conversation between Eleanor and Catherine. How do the two young ladies differ? (This annotation contains a video)
Catherine is intrigued with the castle because she reads about them in novels. Reading is a theme, or underlying idea, of the novel. The video discusses some common themes. (This annotation contains a video)
Why is Catherine so upset when she sees Henry and Catherine looking at her from the sidewalk?
Catherine, upset by the situation with the Tilneys, realizes that Isabella is not concerned about her feelings.
Why does Catherine hold back her anger about Eleanor's behavior?
Catherine asks Henry why he is more ready to take offence at her actions than his sister. Why does this question upset him?
What does the video reveal about the conversation between John Thorpe and General Tilney that is not directly stated in the text?
This scene shows Catherine's apology to Henry and Eleanor and John Thorpe's conversation with General Tilney. (This annotation contains a video)
What do James's words reveal?
Why does Catherine run to see Eleanor and Henry?
What is Mr. Allen's opinion of Catherine going riding with John Thorpe?
What attitude towards reading does Catherine express?
In her panegyric Catherine _____________ the work of Mrs. Radcliffe.
Henry teases Catherine and Eleanor about the intelligence of women.
What is Isabella's tone when saying these words?
The reader understands Isabella's true motivations for marrying James though Catherine does not. This is called dramatic irony. Watch the video to see how dramatic irony is used in literature. (This annotation contains a video)
What does John Thorpe hint about in his parting conversation with Catherine?
What reason does Isabella have to speak badly of Henry and his sister?
What does Henry's comment reveal about his ability to "read" Catherine?
Henry's response reflects his preoccupation with language.
How does Isabella react when she discovers James's income?
What request does General Tilney make of Catherine?
Catherine shows her preoccupation with gothic novels. In these novels the action takes place in and around an old castle, sometimes seemingly abandoned, sometimes occupied. The castle often contains secret passages, trap doors, secret rooms,trick panels with hidden levers, dark or hidden staircases, and possibly ruined sections. (This annotation contains an image)
Isabella tells Catherine that John thinks that she is interested in marrying him. What does Catherine reveal about herself in her response?
Why is Catherine upset with Isabella?
Catherine critically appraises John's character. The reader can see that she is beginning to change. A character who changes is called a dynamic character. The video will help you understand dynamic and static characters. (This annotation contains a video)
Catherine's comment shows her
General Tilney is very attentive towards Catherine and this makes her very uncomfortable.
On what does Catherine base her opinion of Northanger Abbey?
Henry teases Catherine about the horrors of Northanger Abbey by making up a story that has features of actual gothic novels of the period. Reading is a recurring idea or motif of the narrative. The video explains how motif affects a text. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Catherine's room differ from her mental image of it? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Catherine open the heavy chest in her room?
The general compares the amenities of Northanger Abbey with those of Mr. Allen's home. What does this reveal about the general? (This annotation contains a video)
The text here refers to a a bundle of sticks or twigs bound together and used as fuel.
What technique does the narrator use to describe Catherine's feelings?
Catherine's reluctance to lie to Henry shows her innately honest character.
Catherine's first view of Northanger Abby may have been similar to the image below. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Catherine read into Eleanor's comments about her mother's death?
How are the domestic arrangements of Northanger Abbey different from those in the castles and abbeys Catherine reads about?
Catherine questions Eleanor about her mother's death. What does Catherine's reaction indicate?
You are probably reading quickly to find out who is at the bottom of the stair. Catherine's obsession with the abbey and the cause of Mrs. Tilney's death creates tension or conflict. Watch the video to better understand tension. (This annotation contains a video)
What revelation does Catherine have when Henry relates the details of his mother's death?
Ann Radcliffe's novel "The Mysteries of Udolpho" are the catalyst for Catherine's imagination. Listen to an excerpt from the novel. (This annotation contains a video)
What elements of Gothic literature do you hear in the excerpt from "The Mysteries of Udolpho"?
What information does James's letter contain that upsets Catherine?
Catherine is beginning to read people accurately. She now understands Isabella and does not regret the loss of her friendship as much as she thought she would.
Why does Henry return to Woodson early?
Why do you think the general is interested in Catherine's opinion of the room's furnishings?
Why does Catherine call Isabella a coquette?
How does Eleanor respond when Catherine asks if she has overstayed her welcome?
Why does telling Catherine she must leave Northanger Abby upset Eleanor?
Eleanor gives Catherine money to pay for her trip home. The general breaks social conventions when he abruptly evicts Catherine from his home and does not make sure that she returns home safely. This has to do with the cultural perspective as explained in the video. (This annotation contains a video)
What lightens Catherine's spirits?
Mrs. Morland tells Mr. and Mrs. Allen how General Tilney treated Catherine. What is their reaction?
To what does Mrs. Morland attribute Catherine's change in behavior?
Why did General Tilney send Catherine home so rudely?
How does Henry respond to his father's attitude and actions toward Catherine?
What causes General Tilney to give his consent for Henry to marry Catherine?