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Discuss Northanger Abbey 2010 > Henry Tilney -- with Spoliers

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

What are your thoughts on Henry Tilney? Is he a romantic hero like Darcy? Does it annoy you that he is always poking fun at Catherine? Tell us what you think of him?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Leshawn wrote I believe Henry Tilney is a wonderful Romantic hero! He loves Catherine exactly as she is, instead of convincing himself she is perfect. He is attentive and offers amusement which will please her and not himself. When the moment comes when Catherine does something to hurt or disappoint Henry (the wonderful scene where Catherine's imagined beliefs about General Tilney and the disposal of his wife are unearthed by Henry), he remains true and does not give up on her or his love for her.
Finally, when faced with the choice between parental obedience and loyalty to romantic love, Henry Tilney does not hesitate but gallops apace to the side of Catherine.
I'm with you Badlydone, Henry Tilney is an excellent choice!


I agree with this description of Henry Tilney (it's perfect) and just want to add the feeling I get that Henry is attempting, in a subtle way, to help Catherine expand her mind in a good way. He knows she has filled her head with Gothic horror stories, and in his own way he is trying to educate her about "real" life. He sees her youth, but also her good heart, and wants to cultivate finer feelings in her.


message 3: by Arnie (last edited Mar 06, 2010 09:55AM) (new)

Arnie There have been many readers of the novel who have been struck by a persistent undercurrent or edge of barely concealed nastiness in Henry's comments to Catherine (and also to his sister). I agree with them, and would suggest that it would not be fun to actually be there with Henry while he is getting some unpleasant kick out of strongly teasing the women in his life.

The main difference between the way he talks to Catherine and the way Thorpe talks to Catherine is that Thorpe is primitive and his aggressive edge is a blunt instrument. Whereas Henry, being extremely intelligent and very verbal, deploys his wit like a rapier. But underneath that contrast, there is a disturbing parallelism in the way they each treat Catherine.

In an analogous situation in Emma, Emma is of the opinion that John Knightley is nasty to Isabella, but that Isabella doesn't notice, and therefore Emma is not as upset about it as she would be if her sister's feelings were hurt. I think exactly the same is true with Henry and Catherine, the reason why many readers don't get upset is that Catherine does not seem to notice, or care, that she's being mocked pretty edgily. It's as if she seems to implicitly feel that she deserves to be mocked, because she feels inferior to Henry.

Again, not a pretty picture, Henry should restrain himnself, it's not a fair fight--in fact, from Catherine's point of view, it's not a fight at all, she does not have any impulse to toss barbs in his direction, as between Beatrice and Benedick, in Much Ado About Nothing.


message 4: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Arnie wrote: "There have been many readers of the novel who have been struck by a persistent undercurrent or edge of barely concealed nastiness in Henry's comments to Catherine (and also to his sister). I agree ..."

Aren't we allowed a sharp-minded, humorous, conversational Henry Tilney without thinking him mean-spirited?


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

You know, I am always of two minds about Henry Tilney, too. He does say some things to Catherine about "women being given so much intelligence that they only ever use half of it" (paraphrased) That would have certainly gotten a sharper rebuke from me, if I had been there. But Catherine is a sort of sweet, little air-head, and believes that "nothing Mr. Tilney says could ever be wrong". So, considering that Austen seems to be skewering everyone's perceptions and misconceptions, I can never decide if I should judge Henry a little more harshly. I think he has a very kind heart, and is teasing her as he would a very young girl (which she is). I also think it is his desire to instruct her and to help her to think for herself. This contrasts to Thorpe who couldn't care less if he upsets Catherine. Henry would have stopped his teasing if he felt that he was hurting Catherine in anyway. I don't think Catherine feels she deserves to be mocked. I just think she finds Mr. Tilney to be a wonderful gentleman and can't imagine him harming anyone. She's a treat!


message 6: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Very nice answer, Jeannette, except that I think Catherine is very far from a sweet little air head, and Jane Austen means for the sharp reader to discern it. After all, Catherine has a sharp nose for General Tilney being a bad apple, and that counts for a lot!


message 7: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 112 comments Sarah wrote: "Arnie wrote: "There have been many readers of the novel who have been struck by a persistent undercurrent or edge of barely concealed nastiness in Henry's comments to Catherine (and also to his sis..."

I agree with Sarah. I always thought of Henry more as ... playing rather than being mean. I was talking to someone and saying that in this book she has given the wit to a male character instead of a woman. :o)

His words could possibly be taken as mean or rude but his actions soften them so much that we know he doesn't mean them in any harmful way. Even when he rebukes Catherine for her hasty and harsh judgment of his father, he still comforts her when they meet later.


message 8: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (last edited Mar 07, 2010 06:59AM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Yes, this is the direction I am going in Lee. Henry isn't in this to fight -- this is courtship. Jane Austen was a brilliant wordsmith and among the millions of us, I am sure she would feel the attraction value of wit in conversations between men and women. Henry intended his barbs and his teasing to advance intimacy between them (chap 3). Henry saw something in Catherine and wanted to know her better. And apparently he and his sister had shared this intellectual banter throughout their relationship. Jane Austen also gives us the further treat of a man who knew something about women. He pays attention to all the woes of his sister, like the cost of and difficulties involved in a new frock. He teases Eleanor, but clearly has paid attention to her in their growing up years.

In implying that Henry had the big upper hand on Catherine, also says that she couldn't handle it. I don't remember anywhere in the book where she shrinks from him. My perception of Catherine is different. She wasn't simple-minded.

Austen sets up that routine-sounding introduction to Catherine's life on page one to really tell us that Catherine had a lot of spark to her. SHE wasn't the one who was plain and lacking, it really sounded like her parents were. She was inattentive to all she was supposed to be learning (as a girl) and preferred cricket. She had a brain for books, but she wanted stories and not "reflection," which the Oxford edition explains as abridgments and categorized reading.

I just think Austen is saying when "plain" parents and convention call a girl plain, it doesn't mean very much OR it can prove quite the opposite. And the fun thing of this book's plot is that Henry and Catherine meet each other with no predisposed notions, they are totally unconnected and have a fresh start. So Henry made his own conclusions of Catherine, saw something in her, and didn't underestimate her.


message 9: by Arnie (new)

Arnie So you think Catherine deserves this?

"“If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to — Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?”

They had reached the end of the gallery, and with tears of shame she ran off to her own room.


message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 07, 2010 07:34AM) (new)

I feel that Catherine would fall short of Mr. Darcy's ideal of an accomplished woman -- she failed to improve her mind through extensive reading. She filled her head with dreadful fancies by reading Gothic novels. She was a sweet, unaffected, loving girl and Henry saw the best in her. In teasing her he was gently pushing her to think (and maybe even fight back), and he was treating her as he did his beloved sister. The fact that his teasing didn't make Catherine angry helped to encourage his teasing and his affections for her.

I still believe she was a bit clueless about his teasing. Henry and his sister sparred with words, but I don't feel that Catherine was Eleanor's equal most of the time. I think his manner was clear to Catherine, but the meaning wasn't always.

"It was no effort to Catherine to believe that Henry Tilney could never be wrong. His manner might sometimes surprise, but his meaning must always be just; and what she did not understand, she was almost as ready to admire, as what she did." (Chap 14)

Everything about this book is unconventional. That's what makes it a joy to read.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Arnie wrote: "So you think Catherine deserves this?

"“If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to — Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the susp..."


I'm not sure what you are responding to. Can you elaborate on your question?


message 12: by Arnie (new)

Arnie There have been 50 articles and book chapters which have pointed out all the nuances of Henry's castigation of Catherine in that little speech, which illustrate that a well-informed reader of the novel would have had much more mixed feelings about Henry than you do.

There is more going on here than meets the eye at first.


message 13: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Jeannette wrote: "Arnie wrote: "So you think Catherine deserves this?

"“If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to — Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful natu..."


I believe Arnie is responding to my post, Jeannette.


message 14: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Arnie wrote: "There have been 50 articles and book chapters which have pointed out all the nuances of Henry's castigation of Catherine in that little speech, which illustrate that a well-informed reader of the n..."

I am a well-informed reader of the book and it is odd that you should tell me what my feelings of a novel should be.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

This is followed directly with:

"The formidable Henry soon followed her into the room, and the only difference in his behaviour to her was, that he paid her rather more attention than usual. Catherine had never wanted comfort more, and he looked as if he was aware of it.

The evening wore away with no abatement of this soothing politeness"

He was angry and shocked that she could suspect the General or any well-bred, modern Englishman of murdering his wife, or locking her away. He seems to have very soon after forgiven her and made every effort to comfort her. Can't argue with the text here.

Please try to leave such comments that a well-informed reader of the novel would have had much more mixed feelings about Henry than you do. out of the discussion. It doesn't foster friendly feelings nor aid intelligent discussion to suggest I am lacking in understanding, does it?


message 16: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Arnie wrote: "So you think Catherine deserves this?

"“If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to — Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the susp..."


She has just insinuated that his father is responsible for his mother's death.


message 17: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Sarah, first, I was referring to a well informed reader OF AUSTEN'S TIME (hence the words "would have had")---who would have recognized several sly references to the political and social situation in England in the 1790's (when Austen wrote the first draft of the novel) in Henry's little rant which undercut the apparent meaning of what he is saying.

For example, the "voluntary spies" who Henry mentions in a positive light, i.e., as those who would have witnessed the General abusing his wife and done something about it before he killed her, also refer to the paranoid classist and misogynist hysteria, and the McCarthyite legislation and vigilantism that ensued from that hysteria, that swept England in the aftermath of the French Revolution.

To say the least, that undercuts Henry's point.

I am speaking after having read all the scholarly literature that has been written in modern times about the subtexts of this novel, which relate to Henry's being a much more complicated character than is generally recognized. Those scholars all support my own interpretation of Henry's speech as being Henry's inadvertent revelation of not very positive aspects of HIS personality, even as he castigates Catherine for her surmises.

And as to Catherine's insinuation as to the General's responsibility for his wife's death, Austen gives the reader a very overt clue that Catherine's intuitions were spot-on, in the second to last chapter of Chapter 30, near the end of the novel:

"Catherine, at any rate, heard enough to feel that in suspecting General Tilney of either murdering or shutting up his wife, she had scarcely sinned against his character, or magnified his cruelty."

So there was no reason for Catherine to feel shame for having intuited what she did.

And, finally, I will be one of the speakers at the upcoming JASNA AGM to be held in Portland Oregon over Halloween weekend, at which time I will reveal yet another aspect of the uncanny accuracy of Catherine's intuitions about the General vis a vis Mrs. Tilney, which undercuts Henry's rant exponentially more.

This novel is much much more complex than is apparent, even with a normal close reading of the text. It only appears to be a straightforward satire of the gothic novel.


message 18: by Arnie (new)

Arnie As just one example, among many, of the scholarly articles I referred to, above, here is a paragraph from an article entitled, "In Defense of the Gothic: Rereading NA” by Prof. Maria Jerinic":

"However, I would argue that such an interpretation [of Northanger Abbey as a mere parody of the gothic novel:] ignores the importance Austen assigns to women reading, regardless of genre. While I would disagree with critical opinions that label Northanger Abbey a parody of the gothic, I do not, for a moment, deny Austen a strong social critique. The object of Austen’s parody and the real threat to women, however, is not the gothic novel but it is men, particularly men who wish to dictate to women what they should and should not read. Austen does not want to reshape or reform men, but her text does insist that women be allowed the same opportunities as men to choose what they read."


message 19: by Arnie (last edited Mar 07, 2010 09:21AM) (new)

Arnie And the particular irony of Henry Tilney's mockery of Eleanor and Catherine reading Gothic novels (even as he says he loves reading them himself), is that today, in the era of Austenmania, why is it that 90% of Janeites are women? One sigificant reason is that modern Henry Tilneys, a significant proportion of intelligent well-read men, are still mocking women for what they read.


message 20: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Arnie above you stated:

"So there was no reason for Catherine to feel shame for having intuited what she did."

-- at that point in the novel Catherine did not know this. She only regretted that she had spoken out of turn, which she had.


message 21: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (last edited Mar 07, 2010 11:27AM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Arnie wrote: "And the particular irony of Henry Tilney's mockery of Eleanor and Catherine reading Gothic novels (even as he says he loves reading them himself), is that today, in the era of Austenmania, why is i..."


If those are the statistics of Austen readership, I don't believe it is because men are mocking women for reading Austen. I believe it is because men are often raised in a very stereotypical fashion -- they are encouraged largely to read "boy" books because boys are supposed to do "boy" things. Because of society perceptions, men are limited in what is acceptable. They can't even wear pink if they want to, can they?


message 22: by Arnie (new)

Arnie I based those percentages on the following:

1. I have attended 4 of the past 5 JASNA AGMS, and the percentages at each of them had to be 90:10 every time.

2. I was one of 155 participants in the July 2009 Chawton House Conference on New Directions in Austen Studies, and the ratio of female to male was (I just checked on my list of participants) 130:25, or 85%.

In all the online Austen groups I participate in, including this one, the active members are at least 75% female in every one.

So I think that's a fair measure of Austen readership, as I am sure you'd agree-that is the least controversial of the claims I make about Jane Austen!

Your argument is a plausible explanation for why men mock women for reading "chick lit", but my point is that, regardless of why it happens, it still happens all the time. I can't recall hearing women mock men for any male-oriented literature.

And in a way you've made my point more powerful, because certainly men in JA's time were a hundred times MORE conditioned to be derogatory toward women's interests than they are today.

The idea of women's rights was openly derided and feared in JA's time, and THAT is why Henry's constant passive aggressive condescending putdowns were something bad, and not harmless at all.


message 23: by Arnie (new)

Arnie And I am genuinely curious to hear your reactions to the other points I made--as recently as a year ago, I myself was unaware of 75% of the subtexts in Northanger Abbey which I now am aware of. It was a chance discovery by me that opened the door wide into the shadows of the novel, and it was only then that I read everything about the novel, and found out that my intuitions, like Catherine's, were actually valid, and were picking up on JA's deeper message.


message 24: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (last edited Mar 07, 2010 12:07PM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Arnie wrote: "I based those percentages on the following:

1. I have attended 4 of the past 5 JASNA AGMS, and the percentages at each of them had to be 90:10 every time.

2. I was one of 155 participants in the..."


Arnie, you misrepresent me. We still disagree on two points.

*Henry was not mocking Catherine -- if, by mocking you mean he is disrespecting Catherine.

*I do not find that men mock women for reading Jane Austen. Instead, I stated my belief that men are discouraged in reading Jane Austen, when they might personally be interested in her works. And make no mistake, parents or mentors of BOTH sexes are doing the discouraging.


message 25: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Well, we disagree. As I see it, there is still a widespread disrespect for Jane Austen's writing among literate and intelligent men, who ought to know better.


message 26: by Arnie (new)

Arnie But I'm still curious to hear your reactions to the other points I made...


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

I have an older brother who is well-read in his own field of interest (he loves alternate history stories, science fiction, history, especially roman and greek military strategy). He has for as many years as I can recall teased and harassed me. He loves me, he was never physically or verbally abusive, but heaven forbid if I strayed into a topic where he was better informed, or at least had a better vocabulary. He just loves to spar with me intellectually, most times tongue-in-cheek, and he loves it when I get the better of him on occasion. I see parallels between my older brother and Henry Tilney. It isn't malice, hatred of the "weaker" sex, or any other hidden agenda. He likes to spar with words and if he can "win" he is even happier. I think as Catherine matures (there is an 8 year age difference) she will learn to hold her own and delight Henry by arguing with him, as Eleanor must do at the time of the story.

If Catherine had married Capt. Tilney or John Thorpe, I would be worried about her.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Sarah & Arnie,

Perhaps you could move your discussion to a new thread? We have gotten away from what we like about Henry Tilney. :)


message 29: by Robin (last edited Mar 07, 2010 01:00PM) (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Arnie wrote: "... modern Henry Tilneys, a significant proportion of intelligent well-read men, are still mocking women for what they read."

I'd be very curious to hear examples of this. My dad brought me up to be a reader, I've lived among readers of both sexes all my life, and yes, I've heard men turn up their noses at 'chick-lit' -- but that is not necessarily mocking. They do not like that genre, or its similarities to Austen's works, because it deals with marriage, money, emotions, life in a small village, etc.

The only real mocking I've heard is when someone (male or female) belittles a person's intelligence as shown by what they're reading -- or thinking.

But again, I'd like some examples of these literate and intelligent men, who ought to know better (once more, your quote).


message 30: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Jeannette, your brother and my father were cut from the same cloth! :)


message 31: by Arnie (last edited Mar 07, 2010 01:16PM) (new)

Arnie I have on a number of occasions heard men express deprecatory opinions about Jane Austen chick lit, in comparison to the male-oriented literature they like, without any awareness that they are saying more about themselves than about Jane Austen. What other proof did you expect me to give?

In today's world, most women feel pretty comfortable ignoring such sexist comments, because there is a whole feminist support network, such as this sort of online discussion. But in Austen's day, women were actively discouraged from reading.

So for Henry Tilney to mock Catherine as he does is a much more potent and irresponsible action on his part, and he knows this very well-remember, he is extremely well educated, and has a sophisticated perspective on many things, so cannot plead ignorance of his powerful influence.


message 32: by Arnie (last edited Mar 07, 2010 01:25PM) (new)

Arnie This is not subtext, this is text. This is even without reference to extrinsic historical and literary allusions. It just happens that when you bring those allusions to bear, they reinforce what the text already suggests to the reader who resists the easiest interpretation.


message 33: by Robin (last edited Mar 07, 2010 01:44PM) (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Arnie wrote: "This is not subtext, this is text.

Dictionary.com: "Mock - to use ridicule or derision; scoff; jeer"

So, let's back up. Where in the text does Henry actually mock Catherine? He is shocked at the ideas she's formed of his father's actions, and perhaps Austen does weave some contemporary allusions into her prose, but where and how is he poking fun at her, laughing at her, looking down upon her?

As I reread the context of the quoted text, I see his actions showing just the opposite.

And for examples here, I'm asking for parsing of words, delineation and extraction of meaning.


message 34: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Well, while i assemble various other statements of his mocking her, you have not replied to the following which I wrote, above, and which I now re-copy here, because it is Henry's most egregiously hurtful statement to Catherine, and must unjustly:

"And as to Catherine's insinuation as to the General's responsibility for his wife's death, Austen gives the reader a very overt clue that Catherine's intuitions were spot-on, in the second to last chapter of Chapter 30, near the end of the novel:

"Catherine, at any rate, heard enough to feel that in suspecting General Tilney of either murdering or shutting up his wife, she had scarcely sinned against his character, or magnified his cruelty."

I repeat, based on the above narration, which does not contain even a trace of irony, there was no reason for Catherine to feel shame for having intuited what she did. Quite the contrary, Henry owed Catherine a giant apology, because she was right about General Tilney.


message 35: by Arnie (new)

Arnie And there's no "perhaps" about her weaving contemporary allusions into the text of the novel, there are many of them, and each of them elaborate and multi-part. They'd have been as obvious to the contemporary reader as if someone writing a novel today were to allude to 9-11 or the War in Iraq or the financial meltdown of 2008.


message 36: by Arnie (new)

Arnie "“Not very good, I am afraid. But now really, do not you think Udolpho the nicest book in the world?”

“The nicest — by which I suppose you mean the neatest. That must depend upon the binding.”

“Henry,” said Miss Tilney, “you are very impertinent. Miss Morland, he is treating you exactly as he does his sister. He is forever finding fault with me, for some incorrectness of language, and now he is taking the same liberty with you. The word ‘nicest,’ as you used it, did not suit him; and you had better change it as soon as you can, or we shall be overpowered with Johnson and Blair all the rest of the way.”

“I am sure,” cried Catherine, “I did not mean to say anything wrong; but it is a nice book, and why should not I call it so?”

“Very true,” said Henry, “and this is a very nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk, and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a very nice word indeed! It does for everything. Originally perhaps it was applied only to express neatness, propriety, delicacy, or refinement — people were nice in their dress, in their sentiments, or their choice. But now every commendation on every subject is comprised in that one word.”

“While, in fact,” cried his sister, “it ought only to be applied to you, without any commendation at all. You are more nice than wise.


So Eleanor has to intercede not once, but twice, to get this guy to stop making fun of Catherine's not being aware of the various meanings of the word "nice"


message 37: by Arnie (last edited Mar 07, 2010 02:24PM) (new)

Arnie And the worst thing about Henry reducing Catherine to "tears of shame" over her fantasy about Mrs. Tilney having been murdered by General Tilney is that, up till that moment, Henry has done everything within his power to provoke Catherine into having that very same fantasy! In the carriage ride on the way to Northanger, and then again in the Abbey itself, he is repeatedly pushing her to see the reality around her as Gothic. And he is doing this with full awareness of the effect his provocations are having on her, he is deliberately playing on her weakness, goading her into it by pretending to be laughing with her, only to turn on her in the nastiest way possible once he succeeds in provoking her this way.

But again, the most important point is that he knows all along that his father IS an ogre, who caused misery to Mrs. Tilney during their marriage in a variety of ways. AND....that pesky bit of narration in Chapter 30 which makes it abundantly clear that Jane Austen herself thinks that the way that Catherine was RIGHT about General Tilney was the part that really mattered, whereas the fact that she suspected him of actual murder (a very plausible suspicion, by the way, given that the General was so incredibly greedy that he'd dump a young girl out in the middle of the night) was much less important.

And yet, Catherine is made to eat crow and experience extreme humiliation, so that never in the future will she again question Henry's opinion.


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

I will always prefer to read Austen through my rose-colored female viewpoint. The "good" people in the story found love and the "bad" went home alone. Poor James was disappointed in love, but it wasn't true love, after all.

I especially love the last line: I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny or reward filial disobedience.


message 39: by Arnie (last edited Mar 07, 2010 04:30PM) (new)

Arnie Jeannette, rose-colored, yes. Female? Not a female like Jane Austen. There are lots of women who have read Jane Austen and have understood that rose-colored glasses can be a dangerous utensil when it comes to romance in the real world.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Sorry -- I am a female. I don't suppose that's up for debate, too?


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Arnie wrote: "Jeannette, rose-colored, yes. Female? Not a female like Jane Austen. There are lots of women who have read Jane Austen and have understood that rose-colored glasses can be a dangerous utensil when ..."

No fair editing your post after my reply! Yes, rose-colored glasses, glass half-full, female optimist who enjoys the love story that Austen writes. That is what makes her works endure for many of us! And, that's what makes some people classify her as chick-lit (men and women both have been known to express this opinion). I say, their loss. I just enjoy a good story with characters I can care about.


message 42: by Arnie (new)

Arnie i enjoy both of the stories in each of her novels-the love story and the darker story. Parallel fictional universes.


message 43: by Arnie (new)

Arnie But I am 100% willing to concede to you that you are female! ;)


message 44: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Arnie wrote: "And as to Catherine's insinuation as to the General's responsibility for his wife's death, Austen gives the reader a very overt clue that Catherine's intuitions were spot-on, in the second to last chapter of Chapter 30, near the end of the novel:

"Catherine, at any rate, heard enough to feel that in suspecting General Tilney of either murdering or shutting up his wife, she had scarcely sinned against his character, or magnified his cruelty."

I repeat, based on the above narration, which does not contain even a trace of irony... "


I disagree. I believe there is a great deal of irony in this statement, and in its context. In her other books, Austen does not usually deal in a straightforward manner with proposals, nor does she here. In fact, in this passage, as previously in NA, Austen again breaks the Fourth Wall of Fiction (which is to speak directly to us, the Reader), so she is not being straightforward - and thereby IMO uses a great deal of irony.

Now, please, Arnie, you have not answered my post above - in which I ask you to show exactly what words Tilney uses to mock Catherine in the passage, "Dear Miss Morland, consider ...."


message 45: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
If we could wind down the Henry mocking Catherine issue to a few more concluding remarks, I propose that would be best for all.

Robin, I certainly appreciate that you have contributed comments to this issue, I just want to encourage members to move on to something else now. Please see this as an encouraging request to do so, it is meant in no other way.

-- if you have any other comments to bring up concerning Henry Tilney. Any variety of views are welcome!


message 46: by Arnie (last edited Mar 08, 2010 06:46AM) (new)

Arnie Sarah, I thank you for giving me a fair chance to make my point, and I agree that this is a good time to give that thread a rest in this topic.

However, Robin, as I am by no means wishing to duck your questions, if you wish, I'd be happy to continue discussing these points (not just Henry's nasty comments to Catherine and Eleanor, but also the larger context within which he makes those comments, because otherwise the conversation is silly) in email with you.

If you wish to do so, my email is arnieperlstein@myacc.net

If not, that is also perfectly fine with me.


message 47: by VMom (new)

VMom (votermom) | 68 comments I like Henry a lot, specially in his role as a good brother. I think he will probably love being a part of the Morland extended family too.


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

Mayakda wrote: "I like Henry a lot, specially in his role as a good brother. I think he will probably love being a part of the Morland extended family too."

I'm sure he missed having his mother, and his father is so distant, that being in a large happy family, such as the Morland's, will bring him happiness, too.


message 49: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Sarah wrote: "If we could wind down the Henry mocking Catherine issue to a few more concluding remarks, I propose that would be best for all.

Robin, I certainly appreciate that you have contributed comments t..."


I bow to the Mod, and shall "keep my breath to cool my porridge". ;)

What I liked about Henry was that he started out being nice to Catherine to follow his father's wishes, and ended up liking her for her own sake.


message 50: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments I thought Henry met Catherine before her father thought she had money? Didn't Henry dance with Catherine the night he had come to secure rooms for the family? I think he liked Catherine when he danced with her - his father found out she had money later on. He had danced with her again before the Henry's dad met Thorpe. (At least that's how I read it)


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