Last edited by Anglika; 06-Oct-2008 at 17:12.
Thank you very much for your advice!
During thousand years of Chinese feudal society including 18th and 19th centuries, Chinese women were confined into their houses and could not meet any strange men except for their own father, brothers. They were arranged to marry a strange man, who they never met. They were treated as just reproductive tools and private property of their husband but not independent-minded individuals. This sounds unthinkable if it happens to me today. However, ordinary British women in the 18th century, like the protagonist Catherine, could have chances to socialise with people and know men by themselves. It's interesting for me to see the contrast of different societies.
Jane Austen's stories stress the social class between the couple of marriage - This reflects from two novels by her I have dabbled so far - Northanger Abbey and and Pride and Prejudice. Money or class was very important to a marriage. General Tilney was convinced by the rumour-Catherine was from a destitute family. He disinherited his son -Henry if he persisted to marry a poor girl. Austen arranged Henry decided to give up his fortune and marry Catherine. It was a great courage for a man at that time though I assume such a case might be rather rare in the UK of the 18th century except for the existence of novels, still it was an encouraging spark of mind. Catherine was not pennyless as the rumour General Tilney had taken for granted. Though she was not very rich as General Tilney expected, Catherine and Henry were at the same class. Austen extolled the power of the true love and still confined herself to the concept of class. I'm curious to learn the thoughts and minds of Westerners'.
Critics commented Jane Austen's language was ironic, humourous and vivid. My English knowledge limits me to really appreciate it well. Yet, I still can peep the humour between the lines more or less.The authoress described Catherine's mother "drown in the tears"; Isabella's tag "My dear creature"...
Another feature of this novel is Northanger Abbey is a novel per se. However, Austen put double novels in the story. Catherine was a Gothic fiction fan. She put herself into a fantasy of the fiction about everything she encountered in Bath. She was a lovely naive young girl.
I haven't yet finished reading the novel. I plow it slowly because there're many new words I have to hurdle.
Last edited by thedaffodils; 07-Oct-2008 at 11:53.
By the way, I like the agricultural metaphors in your last sentence (before hurdles were used as obstacles for athletes, they were used to make fences). An interesting point about your use of 'plow' (that's the Am E spelling, by the way. I'll use 'plough' in my examples):
What you 'plough' is a field. When it is used metaphorically, you add 'through': Riot police 'plough through' a crowd; or you 'plough through a book'.
Other colloquial uses:
'To plough [in] an exam' - to do very badly
'To plough into the ground' - (of a plane) to crash
'To plough a lonely furrow' - to do lonely work
Last edited by BobK; 07-Oct-2008 at 12:36. Reason: Added bit about hurdles
Thank you very much for your advice and corrections.
Have a good day!
If I may, I would recommend you read a summary first. If possible, one which explains the heavy references to Gothic novels present in Northanger Abbey.
Gothic novels were a craze then, and Jane Austen mocks them subtly - and not so subtly - throughout her novel.
One reader who knows nothing of the background will easily get confused without context.
Last edited by Rebel; 15-Oct-2008 at 14:06.
Thank you for your advice.