The Forthright Heroine

Self has been musing about literary heroines.

It is a good thing she got a comment from one of her blog readers last week. Made her think more deeply about Northanger Abbey. Made her give it a chance.

She is so glad she did. Thank you, amoralegria.

Self is very bemused by Austen’s heroine, Catherine Morland, all of 17, who prior to spending the season in Bath has lived a very placid country life, where she has received little to no male attention. She is so very forthright in her liking for Mr. Tilney. She feels no shame or embarrassment in putting questions regarding him to Mr. Tilney’s sister. And when another man comes calling, she says at once, “I can’t go out with you; I am hoping to go for a walk with Miss Tilney and her brother.”

BWAH HA HA HA!

She looks for Mr. Tilney in vain, everywhere. Finally, she spots him at the theatre, and spends the length of two entire acts staring at him. In the way we all tend to know when someone stares at us for any length of time, he eventually returns her gaze.

Being a polite fellow, he walks over to her box to greet her. Catherine is thrilled! Absolutely thrilled! (So are readers!) Catherine tells Mr. Tilney how sorry she was not to have gone for a walk with him and his sister yesterday. She was with Mr. Thorpe but she would much have preferred to be with Mr. Tilney. She even tells Mr. Tilney: “I would have jumped out and run after you.”

HAR HAR HAR!

Mr. Tilney, who had walked into the box with a rather distant air, melts at her words, for as Austen writes:

IS THERE A HENRY IN THE WORLD WHO COULD BE INSENSITIVE TO SUCH A DECLARATION?

Dear Jane, self thinks you are absolutely right!

Catherine (who has apparently no filters, reminds self of J-Law) goes on to add: “I am sure by your look, when you came into the box, you were very angry.”

Mr. Tilney: “I angry! I could have no right.”

Catherine: “Well, nobody would have thought you had no right who saw your face.”

Mr. Tilney’s response is to ask “her to make room for him, and . . . he remained with them for some time.”

That’s right, dear blog readers. Mr. Tilney spends the rest of the evening with Catherine Morland. Disarmed by her candor. And that proves that he is a very, very intelligent man.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Hilarity

Self spent late last night combing the web for views (hopefully, conflicting) on the dramatis personae of Northanger Abbey. Principally, for those of the characters she is most interested in:

  • Catherine Morland
  • Mr. Tilney
  • John Thorpe
  • Isabella Thorpe

Her favorite (thus far) is this one, on Tor.com:

Not Born To Be a Heroine

  • Northanger Abbey is hilarious. It’s the story of a girl who wants to be the heroine of a Gothic novel, but who finds herself instead in a peaceful domestic novel.

It’s good to be reminded that the heroine of this book is 17. The same age as the characters in The Hunger Games.

Self just wanted to throw that in there.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Bath

Catherine Morland: “Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?”

Mr. Tilney: “Not those who bring such fresh feelings of every sort to it, as you do.”

Northanger Abbey, Chapter X

NORTHANGER ABBEY: Isabella the Chatterbox

My sweetest Catherine, how have you been this long ago, but I need not ask you, for you look delightfully. You really have done your hair in a more heavenly style than ever: you mischievous creature, do you want to attract everybody? I assure you, my brother is quite in love with you already; and as for Mr. Tilney — but that is a settled thing — even your modesty cannot doubt his attachment now; his coming back to Bath makes it too plain. Oh! What would I not give to see him! I really am quite wild with impatience. My mother says he is the most delightful young man in the world; she saw him this morning you know: you must introduce him to me. Is he in the house now? — Look about for heaven’s sake! I assure you, I can hardly exist till I see him.

Northanger Abbey, Chapter X

Mr. Tilney is a clergyman. A very fine-looking clergyman. Has caused quite a stir in Bath, but makes very sporadic appearances at balls, teas, etc. Catherine is quite smitten, and now apparently so is her best friend, Ms. Isabella Thorpe.

Can’t you just hear the RAWR of little claws in the above sweet utterance from Isabelle to her “best friend” Catherine? Sweeeet!

(What makes “clergyman” so attractive in a potential mate? Self is bemused but since she is no authority on this period, she’ll just have to take Austen’s word for it that Mr. Tilney is quite a catch)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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