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|Catherine takes her reading as her authority
Written by Ellen M
(3/24/2009 10:45 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, From her readings, penned by Graciela
JA purposely crafts these chapters to demonstrate that what we use as our foundation for understanding our world is vastly important. Catherine has been using the filter of Gothic romance novels to interpret her experience at Northanger Abbey. We see where that got her. Throughout NA, JA is refuting that Gothic novels portray the probable and sums it up thus:
Charming as were all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and charming even as were the works of all her imitators, it was not in them perhaps that human nature, at least in the Midland counties of England, was to be looked for. ch. 25
I like what Tom P2 said about this folly of Catherine's being an earlier foible that must be cleaned up and not a recent acquisition. While these chapters are quite quite different from the Bath scenes - as has been mentioned in another thread, for me, the change of scene to Northanger Abbey and the longing of Catherine to experience something horrid accounts for the change in mood and tenor in this novel.
Having dispatched the Gothic romance genre as "charming", but not probable, JA then goes on to have Catherine experience what is horrid at in a properly probable Midland counties of England manner. Well done Jane Austen!
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