March 8, 2016

Northanger Abbey Read-Along :: Discussion Post :: Chapters 1-3

Remember last week when I mentioned that Amber is hosting a read-along? {Check out all the details here.} Well I'm finally getting around to posting my thoughts from our first discussion. Yay! :) Can I just say that I really like the way Austen wrote this story? The way the omniscient narrator recounts and describes makes me smile. I hope I continue to feel this way!

Now, on with the discussion...

Northanger Abbey :: Chapters 1-3

Favorite Quote ::
"But when a young lady is to be an heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way."
General Impressions ::

So I must confess right up front that, having watched the 2007 adaptation with Felicity Jones and JJ Feild prior to this, I'm already picturing Catherine and Mr. Tilney as they portrayed them. Which is fine, because I'm rather fond of JJ's Tilney! (Amber will understand me, I'm sure. ;)

Like I said above, I really love how the narrator is telling this story! He/she points out all the absurdities this way. Even if not meant to be funny (by the narrator I mean, I'm assuming that Austen herself meant it to be), all the little details that get noted by the narrator just end up making me grin. And I also love how everything is described as ordinary or run-of-mill occurrences, or how the characters aren't anything special, yet by the very mention of them, obviously there's at least a bit of significance to them. I don't know as I can describe what it is about the way Austen wrote this, but something about it just strikes a chord with me. At least so far!

I admit I was surprised by how quickly things progressed. I'm not complaining in the least! I just figured there would be a bit more set up. But I don't mind getting to Mr. Tilney quicker! ;)

Discussion Questions :: What do you find most endearing about Catherine's character? Do you consider her to be good heroine material?

I love that she's only "ordinary"! That she's not exceptional at anything. She's very innocent and genuine, and seems to take most things at face value. She's happy! I love that her family is so wonderful and she's clearly a product of a happy childhood. It seems more often than not, that heroines tend to have something exceptional about them or that they've had a horrible childhood of some sort. I'm so glad to see that Catherine is simply a really sweet girl. And I also love how she's pleased with just the simplest of compliments. It makes me like her more and so happy that she'll have someone who will realize how special she is.

Yes, I do consider her to be heroine material! Because heroine-ism isn't really based on anything other than having something worth noting happen to you (in the very simplest terms). In which case, aren't we all heroes/heroines of a sort? :)

What are your first impressions of Mr. and Mrs. Allen? What sort of impact do they have on Catherine?

It amuses me how focused Mrs. Allen is on fashion. Her convo about muslin with Mr. Tilney never fails to make me laugh! :D (I was a bit surprised when it was noted that she was more concerned over her dress than Catherine at the ball though.) But I do like that she's so fond of Catherine and invites her to Bath. Obviously, the Allen's are good folk because for all that they're some of the richest in the area, they're still close to the Morland's who I imagine as being of significant less fortune in comparison. Close enough to invite Catherine to travel with them for six weeks! They just seem to be nice people. And I like nice people!

I figure the impact they have on Catherine is helping form her opinion of society, since she's not experienced it before. (Plus they enable Catherine and Mr. Tilney to meet so I'm inclined to love them for that alone! ;)

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?

He's already stolen my heart because I love him in the adaptation! ;) But book-Tilney is still growing on me. I mean, I like him! I just need some more time with him to completely fall in love. We haven't really spent much time with him yet. I do love how personable he is! He seems to have a way of making people comfortable around him. I really like that he's the first gentleman Catherine meets and with whom she first dances. He helps her to enjoy her evening, which is what a partner should do at a ball. He gently teases and flirts and sets her at ease. As someone who isn't comfortable in a big group of people I don't know, I appreciate that side of him a great deal. And of course he's good hero material! That should just go without saying. :D


  1. I'm glad you're already enjoying this one. I need to see this adaption because I've not seen a decent one for Northanger Abbey. It's not my favorite Austen but it's still an Austen and I love them all.

    1. Jenny: I'm definitely enjoying this book! (Sadly, I'm still not finished with it yet. But almost there!) And you haven't seen the '07 adaptation? You must! It's certainly way better than the 80s version. I think it's very well done and pretty true to the book, now that I can officially compare the two. :)

  2. I love your answers! And I totally agree with you about the narrator; I love those little quips that are written innocently, yet make us snicker at some of the absurdities of certain social conventions. Loving this book so far!

    1. Thanks, Miranda! :) All those quips are so hilarious, aren't they? "Absurdities of social conventions"...perfectly said! That's precisely what they are.

  3. I have only seen the 2007 movie. Are there others? I love Mr. Tilney from the movie, and that is who I pictured as I read this too. I think this Austen book is very underappreciated.

    1. Kami: There is an adaptation from the 80s which I have tried watching once and could not finish. Definitely a fan of the '07 version! JJ is perfect as Mr. Tilney. Now that I'm reading the book, I can see how he really did inhabit the character so well.

      I think you're right. Northanger Abbey is one of Austen's books that I seem to hear about the least. It's the one I knew least about when I first started getting interested in her works and I'm not certain why. Because I think it's wonderful! :)

  4. I love all of your observations! Yes, the narrator just makes this story different and special. I love Catherine's ordinary-ness! And picturing Tilney as JJ is completely fine by me. :)

    1. Thanks, Courtney. :) Yay for JJ's Tilney! He's just so perfectly cast, the more I've gotten into the book, the more I realize how well he inhabited the character. And even as naive as Catherine is, I just love how sweet she is! :)

  5. Someday... I so need to finish (or rather begin re-reading!) this novel. It sounds like a really good read, and of course, loving the 2007 adaptation as I do, picturing the actors (JJ!) who play them will be no hardship. ;)

    1. Rissi: Picturing those actors (ESPECIALLY JJ ;) is no hardship at all!! The book really is delightful. I'm going to tell you what everyone else has been telling me for really should move it up your TBR! (But I totally understand how crazy tall our TBRs can be, plus with all your INSPY books, so no worries. You'll get there someday! :)

  6. Such great thoughts, Kara!

    Ah yes, you know me well. ;) I TOTALLY agree with you about JJ's Tilney! ♥

    There are so many stories where the heroine has a tragic family history, so I agree that it's very refreshing to read about a genuinely sweet heroine who has loving parents and siblings. :)

    Also, love your thoughts on Tilney so far - and on the fact that we're really all heroines, when it comes right down to it! Yay!


    1. Amber: I just knew you would! ;)

      It really is rare that a heroine doesn't have some tragic backstory. I think I feel an extra spot of sweetness for Catherine simply based on the fact that she doesn't. :)

      Thank you, my fellow #IHeartTilney fanclub member! :D


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