Study Guide

Northanger Abbey Chapter 24

By Jane Austen

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Chapter 24

  • It's Sunday and the Tilneys and Catherine spend most of the day in church.
  • Catherine spies a memorial to Mrs. Tilney in the church and wonders how the General can't feel any guilt over murdering/locking up his wife.
  • Catherine feels that all the Gothic novels she's read confirm her suspicions.
  • The next day Eleanor shows Catherine her mother's portrait.
  • Eleanor is bummed after seeing the portrait and the girls head downstairs.
  • The General suddenly pops up and yells for Eleanor, badly startling them. Eleanor runs off and Catherine is scared and runs to her room.
  • When she comes back down she finds that they have visitors. Eleanor explains that her father wanted her to answer a note.
  • Catherine decides to go investigate Mrs. Tilney's rooms on her own and not to involve Eleanor in the potential "danger."
  • So Catherine runs off and finds that the rooms are modern and cheerful. Nothing secretive or creepy about them.
  • Catherine begins to realize how foolish she has behaved and wants to go be by herself.
  • She hears footsteps on the stairs and Henry comes in. He explains that there are stairs out back that are a shortcut to his own study.
  • Henry is surprised to see that Catherine was exploring his mother's rooms.
  • They chat about Eleanor and Isabella. Catherine confesses that she is surprised not to have heard from Isabella yet.
  • Henry finds that amusing, but he then turns the conversation back to what Catherine was doing in his mom's rooms. He finds her interest really suspicious.
  • Catherine confesses that her interest had more to do with his mom's sudden death and his father's odd behavior.
  • Henry sorts out what's going on. He tells her that her mother got ill very suddenly and that he was home when she died. The General was upset, in his own way. He's not the most open of people, but he did love his wife and was greatly affected by her death.
  • Henry is very upset at Catherine's assumptions and asks her how she could assume that a ludicrous Gothic novel plot could occur in the modern age among civilized people.
  • Catherine is humiliated and runs off in tears.

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