Northanger Abbey

Major themes

  • The intricacies and tedium of high society, particularly partner selection.
  • The conflicts of marriage for love and marriage for property.
  • Life lived as if in a Gothic novel, filled with danger and intrigue, and the obsession with all things Gothic.
  • The dangers of believing life is the same as fiction.
  • The maturation of the young into sceptical adulthood, the loss of imagination, innocence and good faith.
  • Things are not what they seem at first.
  • Social criticism (comedy of manners).
  • Parody of the Gothic novels' "Gothic and anti-Gothic" attitudes.

In addition, Catherine Morland realises she is not to rely upon others, such as Isabella, who are negatively influential on her, but to be single-minded and independent. It is only through bad experiences that Catherine really begins to mature and grow up.


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