Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Northanger Abbey: A Summary

Catherine Morland, a 17 year old girl from a large family, was a tomboy as a child, but had grown up to be a pretty young lady. She was invited to go to Bath with her neighbors. At first she doesn't like it because she doesn't know anyone. But soon she meets Isabella Thorpe and they become fast friends. She also meets Henry Tilney, an older man than she is. He has a clever wit and they enjoy conversation and dancing. Isabella's brother and Catherine's brother James arrive in Bath, and Isabella immediately attaches herself to James. Isabella's brother tries to woo Catherine, but she is turned off by his personality. She wants to get to know Henry better, and his sister Eleanor who is recently arrived in Bath. But her brother and the Thorpes conspire to keep her away from the Tilneys.

Isabella and James become engaged, and shortly afterward, Catherine is invited to the Tilney estate, Northanger Abbey. Since Catherine is fond of gothic novels, she imagines the Abbey to be a dark and mysterious place. Henry encourages this perception during the drive to the Abbey. There was a section of the Abbey not used, that used to belong to Mrs. Tilney before her death. Catherine snoops around, suspecting General Tilney of murdering his wife. Henry catches Catherine and is outraged when she relates her suspicions to him.

One day, the General returns suddenly and announces that they are leaving and Catherine must go home. She is very upset, and returns home alone. Soon after she is home, Henry arrives and surprises her by asking for her hand in marriage. He tells her that the General had been told by a jealous Mr. Thorpe that Catherine was very wealthy, and the General was attempting to arrange a marriage between her and Henry. When he ran into Mr. Thorpe again, the spurned young man tells the General that Catherine is, in fact, destitute - which is not true. That is why he kicked her out. Henry found this out and was furious with his father, who told him never to think of Catherine again.

Within a year, however, Eleanor had become married to a wealthy man, and the General relented in his opposition... aided by his learning that Catherine was not destitute at all. Henry and Catherine were married and lived happily ever after.

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