Bad Re-telling: Northanger Abbey


Hello dear reader and welcome back to our blog. I am going to try something new that I have been wanting to do for a while now. Today I am going to “badly explain” a classic that I have read. This all started because one day I was talking to Belle about how I had listened to an audio version of Northanger Abbey. Apparently, there were some points of the story I did quite understand. The subsequent conversation had Belle laughing so hard because I was hitting the main points but in her words “It’s just all wrong.” Because I do like to joke around, I thought it would be fun to share this synopsis. Also, I find it fun to pick on the classics. Yes I know you shouldn’t and you should take them seriously, but sometimes it is fun to bring a little bit of fun to the literature of old (Editor Note: Hello darling reader editor Belle here! I know this is Arya’s post but I refuse to have her butcher one of my all-time favorite books with her absolute nonsense. So I am going to be adding my own little notes throughout her horrendous explanation so be on the lookout for the parentheses.).

This story is about a girl named Catherine Morland. According to the book as a child, she wasn’t pretty and was a tomboy. As she grew up, one day her mother told her that she looked adequate (Correction her parents never discussed her looks with her. Austen writes that the parents comment to each other about Catherine growing into her looks.). We move on then to her developing a love for reading, especially reading novels. She thinks of herself as a heroine which any reader has been there. Anyway, there are these people that Catherine’s family knows and they want to take her to visit Bath when they go on their holiday for some reason (Its the Morland’s neighbor and the wife who is fond of Catherine asks if she can take Catherine for the company while her husband is doing business since they have no children of their own.). Catherine’s parents pretty much say “sure, this is fine, she’s not that pretty anyway so there is no danger.” Next thing you know they head off to Bath (Not how the scene plays out. Her parents allow her to go as the Allens promise to take care of her.).

So the first day at Bath, they go to a public ball or some sort of dance. Since they don’t know anyone, and since it’s the Victorian era and you can’t just introduce yourself to someone, this does not go well for Catherine (Not the Victorian era! It is the Regency era where social codes were strict especially for women. It would not have been proper for Catherine to introduce herself to someone she does not know. Arya does know the difference between the two eras because of me. I think she just mistyped and I’m not changing it.). No one asks her to dance and they just kinda flit around waiting to see if they meet someone they know. However, they run into some guy named Henry Tilney and he starts flirting it up with Catherine because why not. Also at this ball, they happen to run into a family that the lady that Catherine is traveling with knows. One of the daughters in this family (Isabella Thorpe), happens to be close to Catherine’s age and says that she will be Catherine's friend. So they become friends. Turns out Isabella has a brother and he becomes smitten with Catherine because of reasons (I am just not even going to go about correcting that).

So after some explanations of stuff and things that I’m not going to get into, Tilney told Catherine that he wants her to meet his sister. They try to set up a meeting, but it rains for five days so she can’t meet them. Finally, one nice day happens and Catherine is so excited to meet with the Tilneys. However, Isabella, her brother, and Catherine’s brother come over and say they are going to travel by carriage to some castle that is nearby. Catherine tells them she doesn’t want to go but they trick her into thinking that the Tilneys weren’t going to see her so she reluctantly goes with them. Turns out, Catherine finds out that they lied to her so she is rightfully pissed off at everyone. They end up not being able to go to the castle because of either weather or carriage issues so Catherine is even more pissed off. She ends up running into the Tilneys in the following days and they forgive her because of course, they do (Not how the meeting of Henry’s sister goes in the slightest. Again I have no clue on how to go about correcting the nonsense. She is also forgetting to mention Henry’s brother and father are also introduced around that time period.).

A side note about the next part. To me, the next events that I will explain really aren’t all that important to the overall gist of the story. However, I feel like I should mention them for sake of making sure I hit all of the plot points. After the whole snafu with the carriages, Isabelle and Catherine’s brother end up getting engaged. Catherine is excited about this because she actually really likes Isabella. Isabella’s brother tries to propose to Catherine but she doesn’t like him at all so she declines the offer (John never actually proposes to Catherine. He alludes to it and Catherine being young and naive does not understand the meaning of his words.). At some point in time, while they are out and about, Catherine notices that Isabella is flirting with other guys and she doesn’t take too kindly to that. She tries to say something to Isabella, but she ignores her. Later on, Isabella ends up breaking the engagement with Catherine’s brother which leaves him heartbroken because he actually loved the girl. Catherine ends up cutting ties with Isabella and they are no longer friends (Close enough, I will give Arya a point even though she is missing information and her timeline is incorrect.).

Anyway, after some time passes, the Tilneys invite Catherine to come to visit their house for a while. Everybody is ok with this for some reason even though technically she is going to visit her love interest’s house but I digress. As they are traveling to the Tilneys’ house (which is Northanger Abbey) Tilney decides to joke with her and say that his house is haunted (He jokes about vampires and other characters within gothic literature.). It freaks her out a bit because her first night there is her just being scared out of her wits. In her time at the abbey, she does some snooping and she gets caught doing so. She is forgiven because of course, she is, but this means that she feels inadequate (She does not know she is forgiven. Catherine believes Henry hates her as she is suspicious of the death of his mother.). Coincidentally, Tilney’s father comes home and kicks her out of the house pretty much immediately. She doesn’t understand why and no one understands why but she ends up going back to her family home in disgrace (The father kicks her out as he believed she was an heiress due to John Thrope and kicks her out once he learns she isn’t rich.). After some time passes, Tilney comes to find Catherine at her family home. He tells her that he loves her and proposes. She accepts and they all live happily ever after (Close enough).

Hopefully, you have enjoyed this bad synopsis of Northanger Abbey (And editor Belles Side Notes). If there are any other stories that you would be interested in hearing my bad retelling of please let us know (Please for my sanity do not ask for The Nutcracker.). Until next time dear reader (Goodbye darling reader. See you next week.).

Arya

(and Editor Belle)

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