Northanger Abbey | Study Guide

Jane Austen

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Northanger Abbey Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 June 2017. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, June 29). Northanger Abbey Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved October 2, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "Northanger Abbey Study Guide." June 29, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2023.


Course Hero, "Northanger Abbey Study Guide," June 29, 2017, accessed October 2, 2023,

Chapter 13

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 13 from Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey.

Northanger Abbey | Chapter 13 | Summary



Despite having plans, Catherine Morland is pressured to go on an outing with Isabella Thorpe, James Morland, and John Thorpe. Isabella suggests Catherine lie, and when that fails to work, she suggests Catherine is being a bad friend. That, too, fails to sway Catherine. Isabella resorts to saying she's jealous. At this point, James adds pressure. Catherine offers a compromise—to join them another day—but Isabella rejects it.

The three walk together and are met by John, who says he has given Miss Tilney Catherine's regrets. Further, he says he was sent by her to do so.

Catherine intends to go after Eleanor Tilney and set things right. The Thorpes and James grow angry, and Catherine is initially stopped by both Thorpes grabbing her hands. Catherine gets free of them and goes off in search of Eleanor.

She rushes to the Tilneys' lodging, bursts in, and finds herself in a room with General Tilney, Eleanor, and Henry Tilney. Catherine gives her hurried explanation, and upon hearing the circumstances, the matter is resolved. Catherine is introduced to the general, who invites her to stay for the day. She cannot, but promises to do so in the future. He personally escorts her to the door and praises her, and she returns to the Allens in good spirits.

Her kindness makes her worry she was unfair to Isabella and James. She broaches the topic with Mr. Allen. He and Mrs. Allen point out that it is improper to go about as she was with a young man. She is surprised and wishes they had told her.

Mr. Allen advises her "not to go out with Mr. Thorpe any more." Mrs. Allen agrees. Catherine is relieved but worries about Isabella and asks if it would be "proper and kind" to write her and let her know. The Allens discourage her, explaining Isabella is old enough and has a mother to advise her.


Despite manipulations, outright deceits, and pressure, Catherine Morland is still not under the sway of the Thorpes. Isabella Thorpe and James Morland both attempt several tactics to convince her to do as they would like. When that fails to work, they are angry, but John Thorpe's character is clearly outlined here. He overtly lies again, but not to Catherine this time. He seeks out and lies to the Tilneys. In doing so he asserts his authority to speak for Catherine—indicating a relationship he does not have but is attempting to form; he also shows how little regard he has for her interests or opinions.

Catherine, however, resists this to the point of insisting on going in person to correct this. Doing so would both identify John as a liar and thwart his plans of the moment. Isabella and John both attempt to restrain her, but she pulls free and goes to see the Tilneys. Catherine has now corrected the manipulations caused by the Thorpes twice by being blunt and ignoring the polite social ways of dealing with deceits.

Here, too, the reader sees the Allens are aware of social conventions, even though they have not imposed upon her to adhere to them. Catherine's response, again quite innocent, is that Isabella must likewise be unaware of her mistakes. In this instant the Allens reveal themselves to be less oblivious than they have previously appeared. This trait is not explored in the novel, but in this chapter they show themselves to be aware that Isabella knows what she is about, and that her mother likely does as well.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Northanger Abbey? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!