Dr. Ben Faber
30 January 2014
Jane Austen’s Ironic Character: Catherine Morland
Since Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is a comedic satire, it relies on irony. Irony is the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, usually for humorous or emphatic effect. Although Austen uses irony in all of her characters in this novel, Catherine Morland is seen as one of the most ironic characters. Irony is used to portray Catherine as the unheroic heroine, the comedic figure, and the distorter of reality through Gothic fiction. First of all, from the beginning, Austen portrays Catherine as the unheroic heroine through irony. In the first sentence of the novel, Austen says that, “No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine.” (I.i). Austen describes Catherine to not be the ravishing heroine from Gothic novels, but an ordinary and rather pleasing girl who faces society for the first time. When Catherine is described at the beginning of the novel, Austen suggests that she is an unlikely gothic heroine: 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 fo...