Friday, July 30, 2010

Northanger Abbey Readalong: Chapters 10-15 #NARead

Readalong: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Participant list and schedule can be found on this post.

Chapters 10 to 15 continue to flow nicely, with lots of talk about books. Here are my thoughts for this week's chapters.

Chapter 10
Catherine goes to the theatre.

Isabella seems to be looking for Catherine's agreement that she and James are perfect for each other.

Catherine attempts to pump Miss Tilney for information.

A valid point is made that women dress for themselves/each other. The effect is lost on men.

Catherine is rude to John Thorpe in order to appear free for Tilney.

Tilney asks Catherine to dance and Thorpe makes a scene.

Tilney talks about the similarities between marriage and dancing.

Chapter 11
Rain ruins Catherine's plans to go for a walk with the Tilneys.

Once the rain stops, James and the Thorpes arrive, wanting Catherine to go with them to see a castle. Catherine agrees because John Thorpe says the Tilneys aren't coming.

The group passes the Tilneys on the way to the castle. They go to Catherine's but she's not home. Catherine and friends don't even visit the castle.

Chapter 12
Catherine visits Miss Tilney, is told she isn't home, but then sees her leave with her father minutes later.

Once again at the theatre, Catherine hopes to see Tilney. When he does arrive, he only nods at her which causes Catherine to fret.

It is explained that Tilney's father demanded that Catherine be told Miss Tilney wasn't home so that they could leave undetained.

Thorpe claims that Tilney's father likes Catherine.

Chapter 13
Catherine again has plans to go for a walk with Miss Tilney. James and the Thorpes again try to get her to leave and go to the castle instead.

Isabella attempts to be nice, and then mean, to get her way. James also becomes mean to get Catherine to cancel on Miss Tilney.

The trip is canceled until John Thorpe tells Miss Tilney that Catherine must reschedule.

Catherine rushes to the Tilneys to explain and make more excuses.

Mr. Allen says that it is wrong and indecent for young women to be going on rides with men they aren't related to.

Chapter 14
Catherine finally has her walk with the Tilneys.

Mr. Tilney says, "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." Thus causing me to fall a little in love with him.

Tilney's attempts to be witty or playful occur much too often, causing him to grate on my nerves.

The Tilney's invite Catherine and the Allens to dinner.

Chapter 15
Isabella and James are engaged.

I get the feeling, in this chapter and previous ones, that Isabella and John both believe that the Morlands are extremely rich.

My overall thoughts so far
With both Isabella and John coming on so strongly, it seems like they're some sort of grifters hoping to marry and con Catherine and James out of their family fortune. I have to wonder if they would show any interest if they knew the Morlands were no better off financially that the Thorpes.

While I love that Tilney will admit to loving reading, I was annoyed that Catherine felt she didn't have to be ashamed because Tilney liked it. Really? This man you sort of know likes books, so you are now an out and proud reader? I would never have survived in this time period if I had to define my tastes by men I barely knew.

The Allens are useless as guardians/chaperones. Catherine asks for input and receives nothing. Mr. Allen only says what she's done is wrong after the fact.

Catherine needs to grow a backbone. Chose a man. Tell the other she isn't interested. This shy, gentle naivety is driving me nuts.

To sum up
I don't really see the appeal of Tilney. I still don't understand why Catherine won't firmly tell Thorpe she isn't interested. All of the characters remind me of people on a single's cruise desperate to find love before having to return home.

More week 2 posts
Booksnob's post @ Book Snob
Cat's post @ Tell Me a Story
Chelle's post @ The Prairie Library

Discuss your thoughts, opinions, questions, etc in the comments. If you've written your own post, leave the link and I'll add it to this post.


  1. My post is up. Check it out at

    I also have a Austen character quiz you can take as well as the you tube video: Jane Austen Fight Club. Which is super funny.

  2. +JMJ+

    On Catherine, Tilney and those embarrassing novels:

    Maybe it was a Dude Lit vs. Chick Lit sort of thing, using both terms in the widest possible way. I can imagine some situations in which a teenage girl might not want to admit that Danielle Steele or Barbara Taylor Bradford are her favourite authors. But if she meets someone else who likes them, especially someone who is not "supposed" to like them, she also sees them in a new light.

    Also, Catherine is only seventeen and has never been out of her little village, while Tilney is about eight years older and definitely more educated. Perhaps an older Catherine wouldn't be so embarrassed about novels, a younger Tilney wouldn't be so confident about the same.

  3. Looking back I think it would have been like going out with an older man you wanted to make an impression on and having to admit you only read Mills and Boon.
    I quite like Henry - I think he must see something in Catherine that's not outwardly apparent. I hope he does and it's not that he wants someone he can control and dominate.

    My post is here - a bit condensed this week as I have family staying and not much time for blogging.

  4. I'm inclined to agree with Enbrethiliel. We all have guilty pleassures and I can believe that after having Thorpe tell her off about books tha she probablly thought her love for novels was soemething to be embarrased about.

    Anywho, my post for this week is here:

  5. I am trying to participate with the readalong, but I keep getting behind! I may be able to catch up now that summer classes are over.

  6. @Booksnob - Add the post.

    @Enbrethiliel - Ahh, I think I missed that Tilney was so much older. That would definitely explain away some of Catherine's willingness to take his approval of reading as the sole reason she shouldn't let her love of books embarrass her.

    @Cat - Added your post. I agree that he may see something special in Catherine, but his attitude in general seems so flippant most of the time, it's hard to tell what's he's taking seriously and what he's mocking.

    @Chelle - Added your post. I can kind of see why Catherine would be inclined to take Tilney's opinion so seriously, as he's this older guy that she obviously has a crush on. It's just seems a bit wishy-washy the way she is embarrassed because Thorpe says she should be and then not embarrassed because Tilney isn't.

    If nothing else, Jane Austen's main characters usually have a mind of their own, even if they don't act upon what they think all the time. I may be having a little trouble understand the motivations of a character that doesn't seem to have faith in herself.

    @Super - Not to worry. Join in when you can. Some of us are always up for talking about it on Twitter and I make a point to check out comments on the past posts in case anyone is leaving their thoughts about previous weeks.