Northanger Abbey

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Mr. Morland Character Analysis

A parson in a rural village, Mr. Morland is the father of ten children, including Catherine and James. Although he is not wealthy, he has enough money to make sure all of his children can live comfortably. This level of wealth is a disappointment to both Isabella Thorpe and General Tilney, who believed the Morlands to be wealthy and hoped to hope to raise their own social status by marrying into the Morland family.

Mr. Morland Quotes in Northanger Abbey

The Northanger Abbey quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Morland or refer to Mr. Morland. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Northanger Abbey published in 2003.
Volume 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

“It is not on my own account I wish for more; but I cannot bear to be the means of injuring my dear Morland, making him sit down upon an income hardly enough to find one in the common necessaries of life. For myself, it is nothing; I never think of myself.”
“I know you never do, my dear; and you will always find your reward in the affection it makes every body feel for you. There never was a young woman so beloved as you are by every body that knows you; and I dare say when Mr. Morland sees you, my dear child—but do not let us distress our dear Catherine by talking of such things. Mr. Morland has behaved so very handsome you know. I always heard he was a most excellent man; and you know, my dear, we are not to suppose but what, if you had had a suitable fortune, he would have come down with something more, for I am sure he must be a most liberal-minded man.”
“Nobody can think better of Mr. Morland than I do, I am sure. But every body has their failing you know, and every body has a right to do what they like with their own money.” Catherine was hurt by these insinuations. “I am very sure” said she, “that my father has promised to do as much as he can afford.”

Related Characters: Catherine Morland (speaker), Isabella Thorpe (speaker), Mrs. Thorpe (speaker), James Morland, Mr. Morland
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

Isabella has received a letter from James informing her of how much they can expect to receive from his father upon their marrying—and it is a much smaller amount than Isabella had hoped for. Mrs. Thorpe may have been the source of the Thorpes’ mistaken idea that the Morlands are a very wealthy family; she went to school with Mrs. Allen and knows the Allens to be wealthy. She may have heard from her son John that he had met someone named James Morland and told John to cultivate a friendship with James, just as Isabella has cultivated a friendship with Catherine, in the hope that her children would marry into money.

Isabella’s disappointment in the provision promised by Mr. Moreland does not prevent her from continuing to hypocritically declare how little she cares for money. She claims that she is disappointed only because she feels that by marrying her, James will miss out on his fair share of the family wealth. It was not uncommon for parents to give a smaller amount of money to children who wanted to marry someone that the parents did not approve of. Isabella and Mrs. Thorpe seem not yet to have realized that Mr. Morland has provided for his son as generously as he can. They believe that Mr. Morland is withholding his money out of a desire that his son marry a richer woman. They may hope to test this theory out, then, by dropping such broad hints to Catherine that they are disappointed in what Mr. Morland will provide.

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Volume 2, Chapter 14 Quotes

Without suffering any romantic alarm, in the consideration of their daughter's long and lonely journey, Mr. and Mrs. Morland could not but feel that it might have been productive of much unpleasantness to her; that it was what they could never have voluntarily suffered; and that, in forcing her on such a measure, General Tilney had acted neither honourably nor feelingly—neither as a gentleman nor as a parent. Why he had done it, what could have provoked him to such a breach of hospitality, and so suddenly turned all his partial regard for their daughter into actual ill-will, was a matter which they were at least as far from divining as Catherine herself; but it did not oppress them by any means so long; and, after a due course of useless conjecture, that, “it was a strange business, and that he must be a very strange man,” grew enough for all their indignation and wonder; though Sarah indeed still indulged in the sweets of incomprehensibility, exclaiming and conjecturing with youthful ardor.

Related Characters: Catherine Morland, General Tilney, Sarah Morland, Mrs. Morland, Mr. Morland
Page Number: 218-219
Explanation and Analysis:

Catherine has just unexpectedly returned home to her family at Fullerton from Northanger Abbey after the General unceremoniously sent her away with no warning to her parents, unsupervised, and at the first possible moment. In a society in which unmarried gentlewomen were always watched over and looked after, this was a shockingly inappropriate action by the General. Catherine’s parents had given responsibility for her care to the Allens when she went to Bath, and the Allens had entrusted her care to the General. The General was letting down this entire chain of guardians and their code of conduct by sending Catherine away on her own. Even the mild-mannered Morlands are clear that no gentleman would allow a young, unmarried gentlewoman to travel in this way.

But the Morlands, young and old, are not experienced analyzers of other people’s motivations. The skill that Catherine has been cultivating during her trip to Bath—the ability to think for herself and form judgments about the actions and motivations of other people—is a skill that her parents lack nearly as much as her younger sister. Although Catherine’s parents are good people, they are not particularly curious or wise. They do not even try to form a theory for why the General behaved as he did.

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Mr. Morland Character Timeline in Northanger Abbey

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Morland appears in Northanger Abbey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 2, Chapter 1
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
Catherine congratulates Isabella warmly. Isabella and Mrs. Thorpe praise Mr. Morland ’s generosity, saying that although four hundred pounds a year is hardly enough to live... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 10
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
...of being a social climber. She remembers when Isabella seemed disappointed about how much money Mr. Morland would give her and James. (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 15
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
...the General that, after at first offering James and Isabella a liberal amount of money, Mr. Morland turned out to have nothing to give. Thorpe said that he himself had uncovered that... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 16
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
Mr. Morland and Mrs. Morland are shocked to be asked for Catherine’s hand in marriage, since it... (full context)