Thursday, March 3, 2016

Northanger Abbey Read-Along Discussion #1

If you are participating in the read-along hop over to Amber's blog at Seasons of Humility and add your thoughts to the comments.

Here are week 1 Questions:

1. What do you find most endearing about Catherine's character? Do you consider her to be good heroine material? I'm afraid that at the moment my verdict is still out on Catherine's character. I guess at the moment I am finding her rather dull and unremarkable. Even the author kind of has a blase' attitude about her, 
"...her heart was affectionate, her disposition cheerful and open, without conceit or affectation of any kind; her manners just removed from the awkwardness of shyness of a girl; her person pleasing, and, when in good looks, pretty; and her mind about as ignorant and uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is."

I guess she is okay, but again, nothing remarkable about her so let's see if she improves as I read.
2. What are your first impressions of Mr. and Mrs. Allen? What sort of impact do they have on Catherine?
Mr. Allen seems separated from his wife in that he lets her just flounder out in society while he is off doing whatever it is he does while out in society. Mrs. Allen seems more interested in her outfits, air-headed and clueless and also self-centered. I think of the two I like Mr. Allen just a tad better because in chapter 3 at least he was looking out for Catherine in that he inquired about Mr. Tilney to find out what type of man he was. At least he pulled his head out of wherever long enough to do some type of duty for her. 

3. Has Mr. Tilney already stolen your heart, or are you still forming your opinion of his character? Which of his positive or negative qualities stand out to you most? Do you consider him to be good hero material?
I think once again it is a bit early for me to tell if I am going to like this Mr. Tilney guy. Yes, he is humorous and knows how to flirt well, but is that the whole of his character? Is he also mercenary? Is there any depth to him? I'll reserve judgment on him as well.

So we have read 3 chapters so far of Northanger Abbey. Have you read the book before? I read it years ago, but can't remember much about it. I've also seen a movie of it, but can't remember it. So either it is an unremarkable story or my memory is fading the older I get! I'm going to go with the idea that Northanger Abbey may not be one of the "famous" Austen books like Pride and Prejudice or Emma which tend to be made much over. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the first 3 chapters:

"Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard, and he had never been handsome."
This made me laugh! Once again Austen shows her wit in writing.

"Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can raise no other emotion that surprise at there being any men in the world who could like them well enough to marry them."
Again, bwahaha! And this is why I would choose liking Mr. Allen over her. ha!

"Catherine feared as she listened to their discourse, that he indulged himself a little too much with the foibles of others."
So is this a flaw in Mr. Tilney we see? Is he a flatterer? Does he have some ulterior motive? Is this just part of his character where he is interested in others and has a knack for relating well with people? I don't know, will have to see as the story progresses.

"..that no young lady can be justified in falling in love before the gentleman's love is declared, it must be very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her." 
Part of this is a quote from an author of the time I gather, but it amused me.

So far in the 3 chapters I have read I can say this isn't my favorite Austen book. The characters seem to have no character or substance yet. I'm sure my opinions will change as the book goes on because really I don't think there is an Austen book that isn't brilliant! Feel free to weigh in on your opinion of the book and don't forget to head over to Amber's blog and check out the discussion there.

Come back next Thursday for more discussion!


  1. Totally agree with you on Mr. and Mrs. Allen; I think I'll like Mr. Allen better throughout the book, but I hope Mrs. Allen shows another, more caring side to herself.

    Those first two quotes are great! They made me laugh, too. Austen has that dry wit down to a "T".

    Great answers, Julie! Looking forward to seeing what you think of the next set of chapters.

    -Miranda Atchley

  2. I agree with you on Mr. and Mrs. Allen. Although, I kind of think Mr. Allen is like all the other older males in Austen's novels--kind of absent. I hope we get to know him better. And, I'm already in love with Mr. Tilney, lol. But, I do hope he has a serious side to him.

  3. Great observations and comments, Julie! From what I've learned of the book and what the introduction in my copy says, this novel is sort of a "parody" of the Gothic genre in Jane Austen's time. So there seems to be a lot of "poking fun at things" going on. ;) Jane's wit can be rather biting, haha!

    You picked some great quotes and shared some intriguing thoughts on the characters. They really do have a lot to prove about their true motives and hearts, don't they? It will be interesting to compare thoughts as the story continues. :) Thanks for sharing!


  4. I'm so curious to see what I think of the Allen's as we go on myself! Because I assumed Mrs. Allen would be sweet and a mentor of sorts for Catherine since that's kind of how she's portrayed in the 2007 adaptation. I was surprised to see how selfish she was!

    I just love Austen's wit! That quote you shared about Mr. Morland... "and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard, and he had never been handsome." I laughed out loud at that bit! :D