Bildungsroman (novel of education or moral development); parody of Gothic novels


Third-person omniscient; free indirect discourse

Point of view

The narrator varies greatly. Sometimes the narrator is contented to simply describe events normally; sometimes the narrator addresses the reader directly; and sometimes (especially in the second half of the novel) Austen uses the technique of free indirect discourse, in which she describes people and events from a 3rd-person perspective, but in the way that a particular character (in this case, Catherine) sees and understands them.


Light, ironic, satirical; gently fond when talking about Catherine


Immediate past


Catherine Morland


Arguably Isabella Thorpe, her brother John Thorpe, or General Tilney

Major conflict

Catherine, enjoying the frisson of fear produced by her own literary imagination, scares herself and displeases the man who loves her


General Tilney sends Catherine away from Northanger Abbey

Falling action

Catherine returns home, in misery, to Fullerton. She sulks around the house until Henry arrives and proposes to her. Several months later, after the General grudgingly gives his consent, the two are married.


Foreshadowing often exists in the novel as a parody of Gothic conventions. On the ride to the Abbey, Henry tells Catherine a hypothetical story about her upcoming first night in Bath, complete with mysterious chests, hidden passages, and villainous doings. This foreshadows Catherine's actual night, when she recreates Henry's prophecy with her imagination.