Study Questions and Essay Topics
Catherine is inexperienced and innocent at the beginning of the novel. How has she changed by the end of the novel?
What makes Catherine think the General murdered his wife? Why does she realize her mistake so quickly?
Is General Tilney the antagonist of the novel? Why or why not?
Suggested Essay Topics
What are the advantages of Austen's use of free indirect discourse? What is the effect of it in scenes like the one in which Catherine opens the mysterious cabinet?
The marriage of Henry and Catherine happens very quickly at the end of the novel, almost as if it is an afterthought. Does this speediness cheapen the importance of the wedding? Why do you think Austen wraps everything up so fast?
Some say the climax of the novel occurs when General Tilney sends Catherine away. However, some say the climax occurs when Catherine sneaks into the late Mrs. Tilney's room and discovers nothing, and then gets caught and scolded by Henry. Which do you think is the climax? Why?
Some critics think Northanger Abbey criticizes the snobby people attracted to resorts like Bath, which Austen was visiting at the time that she wrote the novel. Do you think this is true? When Austen satirizes resort-goers in the novel, does she do so affectionately or sharply?
Do you think the novel endorses strict parenting, or rebellious behavior on the part of the children against such a parent?
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