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Mental Development in Northanger Abbey

            In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, the characterization of the protagonist -Catherine Morland- seems to be constructed by her own fantasies, extracted by her reading of Gothic novels and her simple and naive thinking, which corresponds to her equally simple actions. At least, this is the start of the story Jane Austen displays at the beginning of the book. .
             The fact that Catherine does not have the capacity to properly deal with her social environment, can be seen as the complication (Klarer 172) of the plot, meaning that the denouement (Klarer 173) of the plot would be her eventual mental development displayed in the last scenes of the book, when Catherine interprets the letter from Isabella impeccably and acts in a way that is suitable for an adult woman, and the exposition the exhibition of her innocence and naivety in the beginning. Jane Austen uses the alienation of the protagonist in Northanger Abbey to establish a mental development, triggered by prodding the bubble fabricated by Catherine through means of fantasies and irrational thinking, by changing her social environment and surroundings. .
             Catherine's naive bubbly was created by her elementary life in Fullerton, which did not include any complicated relationships or events, and so did not teach her the ability to read between the lines of sophisticated social relations. This exposition (Klarer 175) of her mental development as supposed discourse in Northanger Abbey is not apparent, until Austen introduces the second chapter with these words: "Her heart was affectionate, her disposition cheerful and open, without conceit of affectation of any kind – her manners just removed from the awkwardness and shyness of a girl; her person from pleasing, and, when in good looks, pretty – and her mind about as ignorant and uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually" (Austen 11). Austen states that Catherine's mental state was kind, cheerful, and yet ignorant and naive.

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