Northanger Abbey | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Northanger Abbey | Chapter 26 | Summary

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Summary

Considering the revelations of General Tilney's beliefs on marriage and wealth, Catherine Morland realizes she, also, would not be looked upon favorably to wed one of the general's children. However, she thinks about his words on money in her experience and decides Henry and Eleanor Tilney must be wrong that he prizes it so highly.

Several days pass, but Captain Frederick Tilney does not come home, nor does he send word of an engagement.

At this time, Henry Tilney notes he must return again to his home at Woodston. The general suggests they visit him there but that Henry ought not trouble himself over setting a table for them. Henry realizes the general expects a fine table, and so he leaves even earlier to prepare for their visit. Catherine is perplexed that the general would say one thing but mean something else entirely.

They make their visit to Henry's home, and Catherine is completely charmed and guileless in her admission of her approval. The general once again seems to be suggesting he sees her as a suitable wife for his son. Dinner at Woodston is a happy event.

Analysis

Until this point Catherine Morland has not considered the financial aspect of marriage. Unlike Isabella Thorpe, Catherine has focused on feelings rather than money. Note that she is several years younger than Isabella, too, so she has not had to think about some of the realities of her future yet. Her introduction to the social scene at Bath is new, whereas Isabella is already in her 20s.

Even as Catherine starts to think about the realities of money and marriage, she rejects the belief that it could matter. She is not wealthy, but General Tilney has encouraged her connection to Henry Tilney. Her conclusion that the Tilney children are wrong is both a product of her own experiences and her tendency to look to the positive in people and situations.

The trip to Woodston only serves to solidify her theory that the general does not weigh finances as much as his children believe. He continues to encourage her relationship with his son, and she is as enraptured with Henry's home as with Henry.

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