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Unformatted text preview: Holcombe 1 Alex Holcombe English 185-8 Ashly Bennett 9/16/07 LEARNING THROUGH EXPERIENCE Northanger Abbey follows the protagonist, Catherine Morland on her journey to womanhood, and her quest to become a heroine. Throughout the novel, Jane Austen promotes womens reading and education through two mediums. Austen relays her message during the novel through the actions and the dialogue of the characters. Catherine, for example, is a proficient reader and spends a great portion of her free time engaged in reading. At points in the novel, Catherines reading becomes an obsession. Many of the interactions between the characters, such as Catherines initial friendship with Isabella and her relationship with Henry, are fueled by reading and the discussion of reading, especially gothic novels. Catherines growth as a character is portrayed as being due in large part to her reading and while a small part of this may be true, Catherines journey to become a heroine is mostly fueled by her learning through experience and interaction with other people. At the start of the novel Austen implies that reading is imperative to becoming a heroine. As she is describing Catherines childhood she says: From fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine; she read all such works as heroines must read to supply their memories with those quotations which are so serviceable and so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives (7). Catherines reading may be good for her in that it Holcombe 2 is a healthy activity that enhances her education and learning, something that separates her from normal women. However, her reading becomes more of an obsession than a hobby, and that is the point at which her reading stops helping her and starts impeding on...
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