Love is generally pretty hilarious in Northanger Abbey, in all its forms: romantic, friendly, familial, first love, lust. This book is a lot like a modern day romantic comedy, but one that doesn't get so caught up in the whole dating scene thing that it ignores other kinds of love and relationships. All the kinds of love and relationships in this book are also linked to themes of growth and development. Catherine in particular has to learn to distinguish between manipulative or overbearing love and love of a more considerate and respectful variety. While love is often fodder for comedy here, it isn't totally lacking in more thoughtful overtones.
Questions About Love
- Do Henry and Catherine develop a more equal relationship by the end of the novel?
- Does John Thorpe have any actual feelings for Catherine, or is he really just interested in her for her money, or the money he believes she has?
- Henry and Catherine debate the links between marriage and dancing. Henry thinks the two are similar, Catherine does not. Who do you agree with here?
- Isabella behaved pretty badly to the Morlands. But did James and Catherine do the right thing by dumping her and cutting her off, respectively?
Chew on This
Despite what the end of the book says, Henry and Catherine actually may have a problematic marriage.
Though he isn't a murderer, General Tilney was still a bad husband.