Friday, August 6, 2010

Northanger Abbey Update: Chapters 16 – 23

This post is part of a readalong and contains plot references! For a recap of what happens in each chapter, or to find other participants' thoughts, see Jennifer’s post here.

Chapter 16: I love this quote by Catherine: “I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible” (141).

Chapter 17: I couldn’t believe how carried away Catherine gets dreaming about Northanger Abbey, hoping it would be eerie and mysterious. Consider this:

Her passion for ancient edifices was next in degree to her passion for Henry Tilney – and castles and abbies made usually the charm of those reveries which his image did not fill (147).

I’m beginning to suspect Catherine only likes Tilney because he said he lives in the Abbey which she associates with her gothic novels.

Chapter 18: Isabella actually says something smart: “Modesty, and all that, is very well in its way, but really a little common honesty is sometimes quite as becoming” (149). She could stand to take her own advice. But I think Isabella’s point is that she can’t believe Catherine could be so blind as to not notice her brother’s intentions towards her.

Isabella says something shocking: “…there are more ways than one of our being sisters” (150). It appears Isabella may a) value Catherine’s friendship so much that she want to be sister either by marrying each other’s brothers or marrying the Tilney brothers or b) she’s just admitting that she is going after Captain Tilney without regard to her engagement to James. Either way, Catherine seems to miss the statement and its implications (no surprise there).

Chapters 20-21: I was smugly happy with Catherine’s disappointment with the Abbey. I thought it served her right. But she rebounds with hopes that the inside will be more to her liking. She doesn’t seem to care much about the people that actually inhabit the house which is sad.

I howled with laughter when Catherine discovered the paper in the chest was only a receipt. Is this girl going to learn her lesson in this novel or become a tragic figure after all?

Chapters 22-23: The General is seriously creeping me out. He is rather mysterious, although I think Catherine’s assumptions about him (seriously, locking up his wife?) are way off. I’m getting the heebie-jeebies… does he like Catherine? Where is Henry? He’s hardly around which makes me wonder if he really does like Catherine. I’m expecting an episode of sorts with Miss Tilney’s mother’s portrait. But that is for next week’s reading…


  1. Silly Catherine sets herself up for continual disappointment with her expectations and you can't help but think 'serve you right'.
    I actually thought her offhand behaviour was quite rude to her hosts.
    The General does seem mysterious but I'm not sure that he is - or only seems so because we're seeing him through Catherine's eyes.
    Great fun - can't wait for the final episode.

  2. +JMJ+

    The General reminds me of an elderly woman I know who hovers every time her grandchildren bring home guests. (She lives with the family of one of her adult children.) I'm sure she just means to be hospitable, but it's so hard to breathe when she is around! LOL!

  3. You can really tell that Catherine is a teenager as she is so naive about everything. The General is weird but I suspect he is just trying to impress her and doesn't want his daughter to screw things up. My post is up as of this morning. By the way great question on the hop this week, I noticed you submitted it and I loved Stargirl. Have you read Milkweed, it was another favorite Spinelli book of mine.

  4. I noticed the quote "Her passion for ancient edifices was next in degree to her passion for Henry Tilney" for completely different reasons. Her passion for Henry Tilney is that great? Really? I haven't noticed her think one passionate thought about him. Only that she thinks he's kind of handsome and she likes when he occasionally pays attention to her. She fancies herself in love with him, but I feel a decided lack of passion from everyone involved in the book (with the exception of Isabella and Captain Tilney because at least their flirting seems genuine if hugely inappropriate).

    I have to agree with Cat about the general. In Catherine's eyes he's creepy, so that's what we are seeing. To me, he seems more like a stern father figure who's used to being hard on his kids and it trying too hard to entertain Catherine. I'm more concerned to his motives as to why Catherine seems to matter so much to him.

  5. Cat - I think you're right. Seeing everyone through Catherine's eyes slants people's character.

    Enbrethiliel - Hoovering is the worst! Especially when you don't know the person very well.

    Booksnob - I hadn't considered the Gen. thougth Miss Tilney might screw things up. Yes, that could be. I'm off to check out your post!

  6. Jennifer - Yeah, where's the passion? I think Catherine is confused. If she thinks castles are passion worthy then I have to wonder what she thinks passion looks like.

  7. Chelle, I wanted to tell you that I am on vacation with my kids in Iowa right now. I am staying in Cedar Rapids and drove throught Iowa City. We went to the Amana colonies today and yesterday we went to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Burr Oak. Tomorrow we are heading to the Effigy mounds and back home to Minnesota. It has been a fun trip for now but really, really hot!

  8. Booksnob - Cool! I haven't been to the Amana Colonies since I was a kid! It sounds like you're having fun. We're heading to MN this weekend to do some camping. I hope the weather cooperates! It's been really muggy here the last three days. Travel safe!

  9. Have fun camping this weekend! I hope it cools off, boy is it steamy outside.

  10. Northanger Abbey was the last Austen book for me to read of her six completed novels. for some reason I was afraid I wouldn't like it so I really held off reading it, but I found that I actually enjoyed it very much and found it to be quite informational about the view of "novels" in her day. Enjoy the book.

    By the way I have just award you the versatile blogger award. Take a look here and enjoy!