"No one would have supposed her to be born a heroine." -Northanger Abbey.
Catherine Morland is perhaps my best loved heroines of Jane Austen. I first discovered Northanger Abbey when I was about 10 years old. Around this time I had discovered my love for periodic dramas and was recently engrossed in the Jane Austen season on ITV 1. I was positively enthralled by the romantic storylines, bonnets and witty characters associated with Jane Austen. Once I watched the Northanger Abbey episode, I knew that one day I had to read the book and discover more about the Gothic mysteries behind the Abbey’s walls.
Being the youngest of all Jane Austen’s creations, Catherine Morland can also be considered the most naive. With a sheltered outlook on both life and love, Catherine is portrayed as being deficient in perception. Most notably this can be seen when she fails to notice the growing attachment between her own brother and her friend Isabella Thorpe. Also, having experienced very little in life, due to her rural upbringing in Fullerton, Catherine seems to be almost clueless about John Thorpe’s eager flirtations with her.
However, Catherine Morland is very sweet when it comes to her innocent interest in the charming and kind Mr Tilney. Besides having a great story line, I love how Northanger Abbey’s lasting message is one of personal growth. This is because by the end of the novel, when Catherine is taught a rather embarrassing lesson about the dangers of running away with her own imagination, she becomes a much better judge of character. Therefore, the way Jane Austen portrays the true and honest nature of the innocent Catherine Morland makes her a positive feminist role model.