Northanger Abbey | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Northanger Abbey | Chapter 29 | Summary

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Summary

Catherine Morland is confused and upset, and rightly so. She passes by Woodston, further adding to her sorrow. As she travels, she tries to make sense of the sudden and rude expulsion from Northanger Abbey, noting her only offense against General Tilney was one he did not know.

She is greeted with warmth and love from her family, and they are curious about her sudden return. She tells them what she knows, but they have no more understanding than she does.

The following morning, Catherine is still in low spirits. She and her mother speak of James Morland and Isabella Thorpe's broken engagement, and they visit the Allens. Mrs. Allen summarizes a number of the events of their time in Bath, as well as speaking well of Henry Tilney and continuing to be perplexed by the general's actions. The chapter closes with Catherine wondering how Henry has received the news he has undoubtedly discovered by now.

Analysis

Catherine Morland's confusion is understandable. She has lost her friend and her love interest, and she is trying to make sense of her expulsion from Northanger Abbey when she has not made any mistakes she can identify.

This chapter shows Catherine's family life, which is quite the contrast to the other parental figures in the novel:

  • the Allens, whom the reader sees here again, are kind but oblivious;
  • General Tilney is controlling; and
  • Mrs. Thorpe is placid, even when her son speaks to her disrespectfully.

Instead, Mrs. Morland is kind, but she is also matter-of-fact and offers advice.

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