Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey": Is Catherine Morland an Ideal Heroine?

Essay, 2011

10 Pages, Grade: 1,3

Abstract or Introduction

I. Introduction
II. Analysis and Interpretation
1. Catherine's Qualifications
2. Catherine's Weaknesses
III. Conclusion
IV. Bibliography

I. Introduction
In the British fiction of the nineteenth century female protagonists were especially outstanding and
not only used by Jane Austen, who wrote about Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse or Catherine
Morland, just to name a few of them, but also by Sir Walter Scott with his heroine Jeanie Deans (cf.
Morgan 559). Many other authors of the nineteenth century chose a heroine as a main character and
not a hero, even if there are very well men participating in the story, but they only have a minor role
and represent the counterpart to the women (cf. Morgan 559).
Now the question may arise why especially in that century women played the major role in
the novels whereas before and after that the protagonists had mostly been male (cf. Morgan 560).
(...)Instead, it is
to take a closer look at one of these heroines, which is Catherine Morland. The aim of this work is
to decide whether she is an ideal heroine or not. To come to a decision it is necessary to analyse her
character as well as her actions.
Since the whole story, as well as all the other protagonists, are set around her, the reader gets
to know how Catherine feels, how she thinks, and especially learns a lot about her likes and
dislikes. We do not get as much information about other characters as we get about Catherine. But if
we look closer at the person of Catherine, it becomes questionable whether it is justified to award
the title of an ideal heroine to her. The reader accompanies her through her whole stay in Bath and
Northanger Abbey and has a chance to observe her behaviour in crucial situations. This observation
is often bilateral, as on the one hand we can see the self-confident girl travelling on her own, and on
the other hand her childish behaviour and her naivete point out that she is not yet a grown-up. This
becomes notably evident when we compare her to the other characters in the novel.
Nevertheless, this has to be analysed in detail in order to make a fair decision. In the
following passages I would therefore firstly like to illustrate to what extend one can call Catherine
an ideal heroine, what her strengths are and when she might be superior to other persons, and
secondly, this should be contrasted to the attributes which disqualify her to be labelled such in
regard to the weak points in her character and behaviour.


Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey": Is Catherine Morland an Ideal Heroine?
University of Tubingen
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jane, austen, northanger, abbey, catherine, morland, ideal, heroine
Quote paper
Anna Miller (Author), 2011, Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey": Is Catherine Morland an Ideal Heroine?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/197065


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