Northanger Abbey Rhetorical Analysis

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Jiddu Krishnamurti once stated that “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” He is saying that if one can acknowledge another without judging them, they are highly respected and smart. In the novel, Northanger Abbey written by Jane Austen, Catherine’s mere judgments of General Tilney are quick evaluations resulting with an unsolved mystery, proving that not all mysteri0es are meant to be unmasked.
Catherine’s initial proposal about General Tilney is an awakening feature that poses her to be judgmental. After walking through part of the house, Catherine confronts a room that was previously occupied by his late wife and notices that, “It was no wonder that the General should shrink from the sight [...
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Catherine thought that “He did not love her walk: - could he therefore have loved her? [...and] there was a something in the turn of his features which spoke his not having behaved well to her” (141). The use of a rhetorical question that interrogates General Tilney’s “love” for his departed wife leads to the conclusion that he is not satisfied with his wife. In addition, the author tells us that the general had certain features and behaviors, including lack of interest and failure to include details or stories about her life, that suggested that he behaved poorly to his wife. The mystery of General Tilney’s wife is extremely concerning in this scene because one may think that if he treated his late wife this way, did he treat his kids that way too? Also, if he did teach his kids that way, will they treat their partners the same way? Catherine analyzes General Tilney’s wife’s perspective and notices, “Of her unhappiness in marriage, she felt persuaded” (140). The persuasion Catherine felt from the unhappiness of their marriage initiates the feeling of a disputable relationship with Henry. Furthermore, the attribute of being disputable initiates from unclear signals and the reason of interest relaying from Henry to Catherine. “Here was another proof. A portrait - very like - of a departed wife, not valued by the husband!” (141). Along with the gathered evidence Catherine has collected and…show more content…
When Henry comes to find Catherine in the deceased wife’s room, he finds out her suspicions and ridicules them when he states, “My mother’s illness [...] the seizure which ended in her death was sudden.” (154). As Catherine realized that General Tilney did not kill his wife, she now focuses on her relationship with Henry. The author italicized “was” because she wanted to inform that the death of Henry’s mother was sudden; therefore, there could have been no cause of death by his father, General Tilney. Also, the mother’s cause of death was a prolonged effect from a wild fever that was a side effect from her disorder, that of which we do not know. In addition, the novel states that only his father was home with Henry’s mother, which is a respected clue Catherine gathered, however, based upon Henry’s background evidence, Catherine gives up on her run of mystery and omits from her exploration. Henry then explains to Catherine that his father, “...loved her, I am persuaded [...] and I will not pretend to say that while she lived, she might not often have had much to bear, but though his temper injured her, his judgment never did. His value of her was sincere; [...and] he was truly afflicted by her death” (155). Henry’s use of persuasion terminates Catherine’s mystery involving General Tilney. The text states that General Tilney’s “value of her was sincere”,
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