Northanger Abbey was one of the books I looked forward to reading, as I’ve read her other works in the past, with Pride and Prejudice being my absolute favorite. My first impression of the novel was that it wasn’t quite as interesting as P&P, seeing as it started off quite slow and ordinary. But, one particular aspect in the novel that I really enjoyed is characterization. And what actually captivated me into reading the rest of it was – I shall shamelessly confess – the charming Henry Tilney. To be honest, I was anticipating his appearance since the beginning of the novel because I’ve read a few other Austen novels and couldn’t help but wonder what kind of a character she would introduce as the heroine’s love interest. So when Tilney didn’t appear after the first few chapters until later in volume two, I was slightly disappointed.
However, I’ve come to realize another intriguing aspect of the novel. Basically, if I’m not mistaken, this coming-of-age novel, revolving around Catherine, is a story about her growth as a person. She started off being quite foolish and naive and ignorant – hence my initial indifference towards her as a character – but slowly I became more attached to her, because in her I see a lot challenges that we, as teenagers, would face, like peer pressure. I’m glad that Catherine at one point stopped being complacent and actually voiced out her discontent. Her superficial friendship with Isabella, and how she managed to grow as a person after experiencing the frivolity of her friend and understanding their incompatibility, is another aspect that I find well done. Because of Isabella, Catherine gained more exposure to the real world, making her stronger as she faces interpersonal challenges.
Another thing I noticed was the authorial intrusions, in which Austen addresses the readers directly and comments on various issues…I wonder what effect this has on the novel as a whole?