As I continue to read Jane Austen’s novel, Northanger Abbey, I am enjoying the way that Jane Austen describes and develops her characters. As the novel progresses, so do her characters.
In particular, the development of the main character, Catherine Morland, is quite enjoyable as the reader sees her mature from a young naive girl, to a protective young woman. Catherine’s character develops dramatically when she notices her brother’s fiance, Isabella Thorpe, is flirtatious and spending time with another man. Catherine and Isabella are best friends. This bothers Catherine greatly, and she develops motherly characteristics toward her older brother. She takes on the role of protecting him and making sure his heart does not get broken. What makes this most enjoyable to read is the added drama of Catherine being interested in Henry Tilney, the brother of the young man Isabella is flirting with. Catherine is in quite a dilemma. She tries to break up meetings between Isabella and this gentleman by begging Henry to “…persuade him to go away” (pg. 454). You can truly sense how she is being torn in several different directions. She wants the best for her friend, her brother, and herself – but it could come at quite a price.
Catherine is having the ultimate internal struggle and this draws the reader right into the middle of the situation. The only way to find the resolution is to see how Jane Austen matures Catherine’s character and ultimately enhances the progression of the novel.