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Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

by Jane Austen

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Light-hearted, Teasing, Ironic

Northanger Abbey is a text that does not take itself, or any of its characters, too seriously. In fact, its main character is most often the butt of the joke. The novel makes fun of its characters, its plot points, its subject matter...OK, it's basically making fun of itself. But while the novel pokes fun at anything and anyone, it does so in a teasing, light-hearted way. The narrator doesn't do cruel or biting humor. Rather, the narrator seems to like all the characters, even though many, likes Mrs. Allen, are treated with a touch of exasperation and an eye-roll. Despite this overall fondness for the cast, no one is immune from mockery, albeit fairly kind-hearted mockery. And while the narrator frequently indulges in highly ironic observations and commentary, the irony is also tempered with a good-natured delivery.

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