Study Guide

Northanger Abbey Chapter 7

By Jane Austen

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Chapter 7

  • Catherine and Isabella are walking and Isabella is complaining about all the traffic – horses and carriages and the like.
  • Suddenly, a carriage pulls up containing John Thorpe and James Morland, the elder brothers of Isabella and Catherine.
  • After introductions, John starts disputing the distance he and James had driven – charming from the get go.
  • John switches to disputing the time with James.
  • John turns his attention to Catherine and brags about how fast his horse is and goes into a lengthy spiel about how he came to buy his horse, and how much it cost. Thrilling stuff.
  • The group sets off for the Thorpe's house.
  • Isabella is happy to be with James and only glances at the men from the Pump-room a few times as they pass them.
  • Catherine is stuck riding in the gig with John and he keeps droning on about his horse and carriage. Fast forward a few centuries and John Thorpe is the type who never shuts up about his car.
  • John offers to drive Catherine around daily and Catherine is uncomfortable at the suggestion since it seems improper.
  • (Historical Context Lesson! There were really strict rules governing how men and women could behave around each other back in this period. Basically, single men and women required some sort of chaperone. So John's suggestion is a bit rebellious.)
  • Isabella approves of this plan since she'll be riding with James.
  • John refuses to drive any of his sisters around Bath.
  • Catherine spends the time listening to John carry on and agreeing with him occasionally.
  • After a bit Catherine asks John if he's read Udolpho. John insists he never reads novels except for a few.
  • Catherine feels he might like Udolpho, but John says he'll only read Mrs. Radcliffe's novels.
  • Catherine points out that Mrs. Radcliffe wrote Udolpho.
  • John blows right past that and starts bashing a book called Camilla.
  • Finally they arrive at the Thorpe's house. John walks in and promptly insults his mother by saying she looks like a witch in her hat. What on earth kind of hat is she wearing?
  • He then tells his younger sisters that they look ugly.
  • Catherine decides that John has awful manners.
  • But John asks Catherine to dance with him tonight at the ball and Catherine agrees. It's pretty awesome to already have a dance partner lined up, so Catherine is excited.
  • James and Catherine then head back to the Allens. James will be staying with the Thorpes, but he's walking Catherine home.
  • James asks if Catherine likes John and she lies and says yes.
  • The Morland siblings then discuss Isabella and agree that she is super cool.
  • James is clearly smitten with Isabella.
  • Catherine and James then discuss their family and he drops her off at the Allens.
  • Catherine rushes upstairs to read Udolpho some more.

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