Northanger Abbey | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Northanger Abbey | Chapter 30 | Summary

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Summary

For several days Catherine Morland remains in agitation. She can "neither sit still nor employ herself for ten minutes together." Mrs. Morland is patient with this for two days, but on the third day she begins to lecture Catherine. She suggests Catherine read a useful book to help her come to peace with the situation. However, a visitor arrives. Henry Tilney has come to see Catherine and her family.

He comes with an offer for her hand in marriage, as well as answers for his father's actions, revealing that, while in Bath, John Thorpe had convinced General Tilney that Catherine was a wealthy woman. He had then reversed that stance when he saw the general in London and now indicated the opposite. Thorpe's latest stance, which the general also believed, was that the Morland family was "aiming at a style of life which their fortune could not warrant; seeking to better themselves by wealthy connections; a forward, bragging, scheming race."

However, despite the general insisting Henry cease any interest in Catherine, Henry has refused his father's orders and hastened instead to Fullerton.

Analysis

The novel's conclusion was a foregone thing from the onset. The narrator told the reader the heroine was Catherine Morland and that she was leaving home to find a hero. The marriage proposal is not a surprise, nor is the fact that Henry Tilney stood up to General Tilney. Henry is represented as without any discernible flaw for the entirety of the novel.

What is, likewise, not surprising is that John Thorpe accuses Catherine of things that are not true. Notably, these things are charges that can easily be leveled against the Thorpe family.

Both the general's confusing regard for Catherine and his reversal are explained in this chapter. Both derive from the general being told falsehoods by John Thorpe. In the midst of these revelations Henry also expresses his intent to marry Catherine. It is a simple declaration, tempered by the reality that General Tilney has ordered Henry to not see her.

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