In this week’s episode of The Literary Life, our host are back to discuss chapters 18-24 of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Cindy, Angelina and Thomas start out sharing the things that struck them as they read this particular section of the book. Angelina highlight’s Catherine’s growing ability to judge between appearances and reality. We see the great contrast between Henry Tilney with John Thorpe throughout these chapters, and we learn how different the abbey is from Catherine’s sentimental expectations.
Another point that Angelina brings to the forefront is that Catherine is looking for hidden dangers, but she doesn’t see the real, ordinary dangers of people like the Thorpes. Cindy highlights the way Austen points to some problems with equating English-ness with Christianity and exceptionalism. Thomas underlines Henry Tilney’s own moment of naïveté about what evils actually do exist, even in his own family. Throughout this whole section, one main theme is the undeceiving of Catherine, and this is a big turning point for her.
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by Elizabeth Jennings
Weave on Penelope, you must,
Waiting for your lover who
Travels half the world. No lust
Only love abides in you.
The suitors come. You cast them off.
Let your faithful weaving go
On and on until your love
Can return and cherish you.
Waiting on the Word by Malcolm Guite
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Love and Friendship (film)
Lady Susan by Jane Austen
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
Adam Beede by George Eliot
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Persuasion by Jane Austen
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