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Northanger Abbey Transformations Essay

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“Explore the theme of Transformations in “Northanger Abbey”

In “Northanger Abbey” Austen crafts from start to finish a perfect paradigm of her own satirical wit and burlesqued humour, which go to all lengths imaginable to disguise and embed her novel’s transformations. These demonstrate her great skill as a satirist in making the reader dig for their own enjoyment. Her meaning is drenched in multiple interpretations causing even complete opposites like the transformed and unchanged to blur together, leaving as Fuller says, “The joke on everyone except Austen”; whose sophisticated “meta-parody” carries on transforming and confusing the reader (Fuller, Miriam 2010). Craik first contrived how to delve into Austen’s satire, and that was by realising that “The literary burlesque is not incidental, nor integral” (Craik, W A 1965). In my essay I am therefore going to delve deeply into the satirical, and reveal the true transformations Austen intended to present.

The first line of the text identifies Catherine Morland as the novel’s central figure for transformation “No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine” (Austen, Jane “Northanger Abbey” 2003 PP. 5). Austen then ironically, and ambiguously, decks her out to be a burlesqued parody of the heroic archetype, thus transforming the perspective of what constitutes a heroine. Traditionally they were thought of as intelligent, beautiful and isolated like Eleanor Tilney, but we are told Catherine is “Occasionally stupid…almost pretty…and (her father) was not in the least addicted to locking up hi...

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