Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Discussion Questions for Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

1) Northanger Abbey was the first book that Jane Austen sold but it was one of the last published. How do you think it compares to some of her later works or other books you may have read from this time period?

2) How does the author describe her heroine in the beginning of the book? Did this type of heroine enhance your enjoyment of the novel or detract from it?

3) Who are the villainous characters in the book? Who are Catherine’s true friends? What clues does the author give to lead the reader to these conclusions?

4) What do you feel is the cause of most of the misunderstandings in this book?

5) Henry tells Catherine that his father was genuinely attached to his mother and greatly afflicted by her death. Is that believable? Why or why not?

6) Is there a mystery in this book? What is it?

7) What do you think of Henry as a hero? Why do you think he chooses Catherine?

8) How did the character of Catherine change by the end of the novel?

9) Do you think this novel a satire of the gothic novels so popular in Jane Austen’s time? (A gothic novel incorporates horror, mystery, and damsel in distress or the supernatural along with an element of romance.) Why or why not?

10) Does this book defend the novel and escapist fiction or condemn it?

11) What is the role of fiction in your own life? Why do you read it and what do you want from it?

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