Northanger Abbey

Mind Map by michalade, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by michalade over 5 years ago


Mind Map on Northanger Abbey, created by michalade on 11/28/2014.

Resource summary

Northanger Abbey
1 Literary Features
1.1 Parody of the Gothic/Sentimental Novel
1.1.1 Imitating characteristic style of particular genre, applying stylistic features to comically inappropriate subject: evoking attitudes of amusement, contempt, scorn or indignation
1.1.2 Object of Satire Objects of satire are characters that are made ridiculous by their thoughts/actions, made even more ridiculous by author's comments and narrative style Austen's subversion of stereotypes Draws attention to the discrepancies between the realistic qualities of her characters and their sentimental/gothic fiction counterparts First chapter of NA is dedicated to describing the 'realistic', ordinary qualities of the Morlands Object of satire is the reader's attitudes Object of satire: fictional conventions
1.1.3 The novel Popular fiction of 18th century, main audience was women, written by women authors and looked upon with condescension by male reviewers. Unrealistic picture of life accused of leading malleable audience astray Sentimental novel: Beautiful, virtuous young heroine tested through a series of improbably misfortunes. Parodied for its unconvincing emotional excesses Gothic novel: offshoot of the sentimental novel, using sinister situations to evoke terror. Juxtaposition of beauty (calmness) and the sublime (supernatural, intimidating)
1.1.4 Appears to reject the gothic novel but ultimately affirms it Reaffirms the basic premise of the gothic novel- that the world is a dangerous place, especially for women, by using understated versions of Gothic conventions Catherine's seemingly balanced perception of the General is no closer to his true nature than her Gothic imaginings Narrator's impassioned defence of the novel from reviewers
1.2 Literary Techniques
1.2.1 Narration (through which Austen's satiric intentions are made known) Tone/Attitude Dismissive tone-emphasised by amount of attention narrator gives event Comically flattened account of Eleanor's romance - this treatment reflects narrator's dismissal of this Narration takes place using point-of-view character Catherine Morland Free Indirect Style - third person narrator reveals character's inner monologue, narrator usually uses transitional remarks to signal this Other characters are revealed by their dialogue and (sometimes contrasting) actions Narrator appears to speak directly to the reader, commenting upon the story instead of furthering it Highlights author's view that conventions of such fiction are disconnected from life in contemporary England Emphasises the 'reality' of her characters Yet, she also sets up expectations which she later reverses Catherine does end up being turned out of doors by General TIlney, her reputation does end up tarnished (though not beyond repair) by John Thorpe Intended Narratee Degree of autonomy in which the narrator lends the reader in forming interpretations of characters/situations (Austen encourages reader autonomy through her narrator) Indirect form of encouraging critical reading? Reader compares his/her own interpretations to that of Catherine's. And if Catherine's slow awakening is to be taken as a parody of the reader's critical functions, this encouragement is another form of Austen inviting the reader to change his/her preconceived notions about consuming novels
1.3 Setting
1.3.1 Bath Crowded and full of strangers- a liminal space. Superficiality and transience that surrounds Bath allows for perpetuation of lack of social accountability amongst less scrupulous individuals
1.3.2 Northanger Abbey Gothic idea of the external reflecting the internal: Northanger Abbey is considerably less Gothic than its name implies with all its updated, modern structure
2 Characterization
2.1 Catherine Morland
2.1.1 Heroine of Sentimental Novel: qualities include having sound morals and a good heart (not complete departure from fictional conventions) Heroine's character growth Takes fictional, fantastical notions introduced by Gothic novels as reality Encounters Gothic novels at the same time as she encounters wider society (with its array of pretension, dishonesty and superficiality) Takes a more balanced view of life (changes from passive consumer to active agent) "Among the Alps and the Pyrenees, perhaps, there were no mixed characters. There such as were not spotless an angel might have the dispositions of a fiend. But in England it was not so; among the English, she believed, in their hearts and habits, there was a general though unequal mixture of good and bad." Recognises folly of the Gothic/sentimental reader: "Charming as were all Mrs. Radcliffe's was not in them perhaps that human nature...was to be looked for" However, this more "balanced view" is made problematic as General Tilney is still revealed as a villainous figure in the end, implying Austen's affirmation of the Gothic novel's concerns, while dampening down its sublime stylistic tendencies Her judgement of character/naivete improves with experience After Isabella's jilting of James, Catherine examines Isabella with greater scrutiny, moves on from taking her claims at face/literal value Woman of principle, as shown when she refuses to let emotions win over her moral reasoning in the case of (Thorpes v. Tilneys) Anti-heroine aspects of Catherine Not the typical sentimental beauty, not emotional to the extreme, ordinary background with no unusual/tragic circumstances, lack of dramatisation of her femininity (i.e. no fainting),
2.1.2 Persecuted Maiden of Gothic Novel
2.2 Isabella Thorpe
2.2.1 Stereotype of Heroine's Foil: vapid, vulgar and self-seeking Penalized in Jane Austen's moralism Hyperbolic style of speaking comes across as insincerity, a contrast to Catherine's innocence and genuineness (Literary technique of using speech to colour characterisation) Used to highlight Austen's critique of the affectedly passionate/ hypersensitive manners of then-contemporary young women Pretends to be a heroine in a novel of sensibility- ironic Declares to be willing to sacrifice everything for love Fails at hiding her preoccupation with income Pretends to prioritize friendship to the utmost Quality of her friendship is highly questionable
2.2.2 Personification of Bath Represents social awareness and experience Manipulates those around her to her social advantage Aims to maximize male admiration, social climber Isabella is situated in Bath the entire novel- overly eager for urban indulgences
2.3 General Tilney
2.3.1 The discrepancy between his words and actions bely his hypocrisy, further implies that his claim to being unconscious about wealth is false, also calling into question the sincerity of his treatment of Catherine and foreshadowing his expulsion of her Remarks about meals, disturbed by mixing of melted butter and oil
2.3.2 Older male, typecast as the Gothic Villain- in reality he does oppress Catherine, driving her out of the Abbey uncivilly
2.4 Henry Tilney
2.4.1 Ironic commentary signal him as the author's mouthpiece - his thoughts and actions parallels the narrator's perceived agenda Henry's parodying of Gothic tropes Henry's defence of female writers and the novel
3 Themes
3.1 Romance
3.1.1 Love and Courtship as a Social Construct Indulging in love is a pastime of the rich/upper classes
3.2 Fantasy versus Reality
3.2.1 Satirized tropes of the Gothic novel interposed with Age of Enlightenment values that emphasised the rational
3.3 Exploration of Gender Roles
3.3.1 Masculine Superiority Distasteful assertion of masculine superiority by John Thorpe, who believes in his own attractiveness (shown through how he [wrongly] believes Catherine to expect/desire his invitation), his ability to hold his liquor, his financial astuteness, and his putting down of female family member's looks
3.3.2 The Transactional Marriage Arranged by patriarchy- James and Henry both have to seek permission to propose Wealth as a crucial aspect of a partner (ideas of wealth consolidation and building social security) Unions of "love" take place on conditions of financial security, i.e. Henry and Catherine's union takes place because of Eleanor's advantageous marriage Improbability of a romanticised marriage
3.4 Lies and Deceit
3.4.1 Pretension- pretending to be someone they're not John and Isabella Thorpe General Tilney
3.5 Class
3.5.1 Appearance as an indicator of class- credible?
3.5.2 Upper class social rituals Importance of commerce and shopping- Clothing as a status symbol Unspoken social code, practiced at specific social platforms
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Social Etiquette
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Coming of Age, Bildungsroman
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Language and Communication
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Readers and Reading
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Deception and Manipulation
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Love, Marriage and Courtship
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Northanger Abbey Characters
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Imagination vs Reality
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The Gothic Novel
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Wealth, Respectability, Society and Class
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