Analysis Of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

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Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a bildungsroman, a coming of age story that focuses on the psychological development, and maturity of the protagonist Catherine Morland. This essay will analyse the language, and narrative techniques of the set extract, and discuss how this excerpt suggests vicissitude in Catherine’s priorities and relationships. In addition, it will discuss the ‘domestic gothic’ and real life abuse that prevails in ordinary situations. Furthermore, it will argue how Austen’s rhetorical techniques work to encourage reader interest, and to exercise perception, when distinguishing between appearance, and reality. Finally, it will conclude by briefly discussing the significance of the extract within the novel’s wider themes.

Austen consciously burlesqued other novels intertextuality, such as Ann Radcliffe’s influential Gothic novel, The mysteries of Udolpho (1794). Austen used techniques such as comedic and satirical irony, to break the mould of the expectations of the novel genre. Austen could simply have written in the same gothic sensationalist style, or perhaps a sentimental novel, but she chose not to. Instead, she parodies and undercuts them, with subtle causticness, and ridicule. Austen’s priority when writing Northanger Abbey was to defend the novel as a genre, whilst also addressing the concept of ‘reading’ itself. Essentially, by writing in the style of the gothic, she emphasised the ordinariness of the domestic gothic and, patriarchal domestic
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