VictoriaS_xoxo
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Hello,
Can anybody explain to me if and how Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey is a gothic heroine? I have to write an essay exploring if the female protagonists of NA are gothic heroine's so if anyone could offer some help I would be very appreciative!
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LannaBanana
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(Original post by VictoriaS_xoxo)
Hello,
Can anybody explain to me if and how Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey is a gothic heroine? I have to write an essay exploring if the female protagonists of NA are gothic heroine's so if anyone could offer some help I would be very appreciative!
The thing you have to understand first and foremost about Northanger Abbey is that it is a parody of the Gothic genre. I can't really make much of an argument for Isabella being a Gothic heroine; in fact I think she's kind of the opposite. She's too flirtatious, too manipulative. Gothic heroines are typically naive, innocent, virtuous, sheltered, the typical damsel-in-distress.

Catherine herself, in the very beginning, is contrasted with the 'typical' heroine that was found in novels like Ann Radcliffe's:

"No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. 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. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings—and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on—lived to have six children more—to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features—so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind."

Sorry for the wall of text. But she is introduced as the total opposite of what readers would expect from a gothic heroine - her family is stable and loving, her mother is alive, her father 'is not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters', and she's described as being plain.

So immediately the novel sets out to parody Gothic conventions. Later on in the text when she goes to stay with the siblings (can't remember their names), she becomes convinced that there are secrets hidden in the large house, like a madwoman locked away or something, because she's read too many books with that kind of storyline.

I don't think either of them can be described as a Gothic heroine - each time a Gothic convention is built up in the novel it is eventually undermined. (like the fact that there is no spooky things in the big Gothic house).

It's been a couple of years since I read it, so I'm sorry if I haven't been very useful. It might be easier to help you if you post some of your ideas first.
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