While I was reading the sparknote a few hours before my exam I recognized a few errors with the note.
For that purpose I made this account and I will go on to show these errors in the hope the notes will be fixed (although no one will probably pay attention to this). I have not yet read the whole sparknote and don't think I will anytime soon (I tend to hate english literature, and doing something I hate wouldn't be good use of my holiday time).
- The note mentions that "she renamed the protagonist "Catherine," and ultimately changed the title of the novel Northanger Abbey", although in the wikipedia article about the novel it says "the title Northanger Abbey is presumed to have been the invention of Henry Austen, who had arranged for the book's publication"
- The note says that "in the late 1890s she had started her first novel", this is obviously incorrect and should be "the late 1790s".
- Another part in the note makes no sense, "By the her earliest novel was published in 1817". I am not sure of the purpose of 'By the'. The sentence could be corrected in more than one way.
- This might be argued to be a mistake. Henry's age is at the end of the novel (When Catherine and Tilney are to be married) proclaimed to be 26. When Austen first describes Henry, she says "He seemed to be about four or five and twenty". Putting in mind that a period of 12 months, a full year, has passed between their first meeting, and marriage, Tilney is 25 or 26 through-out the novel. As there is no mention of his birthday in the book, we cannot be sure what age he is for the most part of the novel. Therefore perhaps his age should be said as being 25 or 26 (Although it matters very little).
- A slight mistake here. "Eleanor invites Catherine to visit the Tilney home in Northanger Abbey. The invitation is seconded by Eleanor's father, General Tilney.". This mistake is quite significant. The fact that the General himself invited Catherine and obviously forced his daughter into requesting her company (although this was not his ulterior motive) makes this and important moment in the novel. Although Eleanor is about to make the request, the General intervenes by asking if she finished her request, asking her to continue it and then himself inviting Catherine.
- When the note mentions Henry's "hypothetical account of her first night at the Abbey", the description is incorrect. This is because Henry's account was not of her first night in the Abbey, but her first nights.
- Eleanor is described as being shy. This is definitely incorrect, for when Austen describes 'Miss Tilney' she says "Her manners...they were neither shy, not affectedly open".
- There is mention of Isabella being James' and Capt. Tilney's girlfriend (or of there being her boyfriends). I think many words would be much more suitable to describe James' and Tilney's attachment to Isabella (which are both very different). For James was engaged to Isabella and there was never an official relationship with Tilney, I think it would be much better to use a different term than 'boyfriend'.
Themes, Motifs, and Symbols:
- Again, the same sentence was used (although it is paraphrased slightly) only this time it is more wrong. "Henry invents a humorous hypothetical story about Catherine's first night in Bath". Firstly, as I have already mentioned above, the story is of her first night, not night. Secondly, it is of her first nights "at the Abbey", not Bath.
- When the note speaks of the difference between the heroines of other works of Austen and Catherine. It says about this " are not as naïveté as she". I might be wronged, but I very much doubt the usage of the word "naïveté" is correct here; 'naive' would fit well in the sentence.
- Another slight mistake: "and must contend with the bullying John Thorpe"; this could easily be corrected by adding 'of', between 'bullying' and 'John'.
- Might not be wrong, but I'd like to note this anyway. The note says that Catherine learns of Isabella's true nature after she reads a letter by her: "She receives a letter from Isabella, and its contents open Catherine's eyes to Isabella's manipulative, ambitious ways". I disagree. She first learns of "Isabella's manipulative, ambitious ways" after James letter and even cries for her sympathy of James' grief and of losing a friend. Here she truly learns of Isabella's nature; although reading her letter confirms the fact.
Please pardon any kind of mistakes on my part.
And, that's it! I wonder if anyone will ever read this, but I really felt obliged towards correcting this, as many students might enter there exams misinformed as to some details. I do not at all mean offence by my corrections, to whoever might have wrote this extremely helpful sparknote. I advise whoever fixes the mistake to re-check the note as a whole, as my inept eye might have missed mistakes and as I have not checked the complete sparknote (I believe there are many more mistakes to be discovered ).
Now I re-read this and in retrospect, I now realise how I have no soul, no life.