Study Guide

Northanger Abbey Chapter 1

By Jane Austen

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Chapter 1

  • Catherine Morland is born, which is good since she is the star of this book.
  • The narrator introduces us to her family. Dad's a clergyman and Mom takes care of Catherine and her nine siblings.
  • The narrator helpfully informs us that Catherine is a pretty bad heroine: no suffering or tragedies or anything like that.
  • Catherine is awkward and tomboyish and generally unremarkable as a kid.
  • Then Catherine hits her teen years and gets better looking. Good for her.
  • She also becomes interested in fashion, boys, and reading popular Gothic fiction instead of "boring" educational junk – which is like saying she got obsessed with Twilight and thought the classics like, well, Jane Austen, were really lame.
  • Catherine finds school pretty dull and can't really boast of a talent like drawing or music.
  • Sadly, Catherine lives in a small community and has yet to meet any handsome young men. Her improving looks are going to waste.
  • But her neighbors, the Allens, don't have any children and decide to invite Catherine, now seventeen, to visit Bath with them. Catherine is super-excited.
  • Fun fact: Bath is famous for its hot springs and was a popular spa town/fashionable tourist destination in early nineteenth century Britain.

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