“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
Jane Austen was a class apart from other authors of her time. More so in her portrayal of female characters. Take for example the novel Northanger Abbey. With Catherine Morland as the central character, Northanger Abbey is seen as a satire on the gothic genre.
The main character, Catherine, is described as “noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so more in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house” when she is young. Catherine is outdoorsy and would rather play outside than be quiet and feminine.
She is somewhat naïve in the beginning but as the story progresses she gains a better understanding of the world and people around her. Obsessed with reading novels, she lives in a world of her imagination and believes what the fiction says. Hence, she first imagines Northanger Abbey as a derelict, ghostly mansion like the ones in the novels she reads. Only upon reaching the Abbey does she see that the Northanger Abbey is grand.
In Catherine we have a young girl who does not fit into the mould that the society had for girls her age. She was outgoing, preferred to spend her time outdoors, liked to read novels and had a vivid imagination. Though naïve at first, she soon begins to understand the complexity of human nature. Her time in Bath and at Northanger Abbey help her grow.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”