Rhetorical Techniques In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Is A Bildungsroman

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Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a Bildungsroman, a coming of age story that focuses on the psychological development, of the protagonist Catherine Morland. This essay will analyse the language, and narrative techniques of the extract, and discuss how this excerpt suggests vicissitude in Catherine’s personal perspectives, and relationships. In addition, it will discuss the ‘domestic gothic’ and abuse ubiquitous 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 intertextuality
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‘His unlooked for return was enough to make her heart sink.’() Austen uses dictation to describe Catherine’s despondency, often using derogatory terms with negative prefixes such as, ‘discomposed’, ‘disappointment’, displeasure, distressed’.
In contrast, she uses complimentary terms to describe Catherine and Eleanor’s burgeoning friendship, like ‘joyfully, thankfully, and happiness. ‘How joyfully, how thankfully on my side!’
Principally, Austen increases reader interest in the novel through her use of rhetorical techniques, like satire, and irony. Written in third person limited omniscient, filtered predominantly through Catherine, the unknown narrator slips effortlessly into free indirect disclosure, which effectively adopts the tone, and inflection, of the individual characters voice. This technique allows the narrator to intrude into the narrative to offer advice, or to foreshadow the characters. However, the narrator frequently breaks from this convention and addresses’ the reader directly.
Setting, and imagery, is important, the word ‘Abbey’, represents connotations of impenetrable gloom. Subtle assonance, alliteration, and repetition, are evident throughout the excerpt, with words such as ‘breathless, speechless, double, distance.’ Which give the novel pace and a sense of

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