Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey Symbol Analysis

Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey Symbol Icon

Northanger Abbey parodies the gothic novels that Catherine Morland reads avidly, many of which are set in old buildings like castles and abbeys. Catherine, influenced by her gothic novels, hopes to have an adventure exploring one of these mysterious old buildings. But instead of involving herself in a thrilling narrative, Catherine’s interactions with these old buildings (most notable Northanger Abbey itself) force her to get to know her own character and to improve her own capacity to judge situations independently. The pursuit of self-knowledge and personal happiness, the novel suggests, can be just as dramatic and difficult as the pursuit of the mysterious, supernatural, or criminal. Similarly, the novel suggests that a person’s own self is like an old building, full of nooks and crannies and secrets that must be explored to be understood.

Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey Quotes in Northanger Abbey

The Northanger Abbey quotes below all refer to the symbol of Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Northanger Abbey published in 2003.
Volume 1, Chapter 13 Quotes

It was painful to her to disappoint and displease them, particularly to displease her brother; but she could not repent her resistance. Setting her own inclination apart, to have failed a second time in her engagement to Miss Tilney, to have retracted a promise voluntarily made only five minutes before, and on a false pretence too, must have been wrong. She had not been withstanding them on selfish principles alone, she had not consulted merely her own satisfaction; that might have been ensured in some degree by the excursion itself, by seeing Blaize Castle; no, she had attended to what was due to others, and to her own character in their opinion.

Related Characters: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney (Miss Tilney)
Related Symbols: Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

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Volume 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

“'Well, proceed by all means. I know how much your heart is in it. My daughter, Miss Morland,” he continued, without leaving his daughter time to speak, “has been forming a very bold wish. We leave Bath, as she has perhaps told you, on Saturday se'nnight. A letter from my steward tells me that my presence is wanted at home; and being disappointed in my hope of seeing the Marquis of Longtown and General Courteney here, some of my very old friends, there is nothing to detain me longer in Bath. And could we carry our selfish point with you, we should leave it without a single regret. Can you, in short, be prevailed on to quit this scene of public triumph and oblige your friend Eleanor with your company in Gloucestershire? I am almost ashamed to make the request, though its presumption would certainly appear greater to every creature in Bath than yourself. Modesty such as yours—but not for the world would I pain it by open praise. If you can be induced to honour us with a visit, you will make us happy beyond expression. 'Tis true, we can offer you nothing like the gaieties of this lively place; we can tempt you neither by amusement nor splendour, for our mode of living, as you see, is plain and unpretending; yet no endeavours shall be wanting on our side to make Northanger Abbey not wholly disagreeable.”

Related Characters: General Tilney (speaker), Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney (Miss Tilney)
Related Symbols: Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Volume 2, Chapter 8 Quotes

To be kept up for hours, after the family were in bed, by stupid pamphlets, was not very likely. There must be some deeper cause: something was to be done which could be done only while the household slept; and the probability that Mrs. Tilney yet lived, shut up for causes unknown, and receiving from the pitiless hands of her husband a nightly supply of coarse food, was the conclusion which necessarily followed. Shocking as was the idea, it was at least better than a death unfairly hastened, as, in the natural course of things, she must ere long be released. The suddenness of her reputed illness; the absence of her daughter, and probably of her other children, at the time—all favoured the supposition of her imprisonment.—Its origin—jealousy perhaps, or wanton cruelty—was yet to be unravelled.

Related Characters: Catherine Morland, General Tilney, Eleanor Tilney (Miss Tilney), Mrs. Tilney
Related Symbols: Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

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Volume 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

“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 every thing open? Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?”

Related Characters: Henry Tilney (Mr. Tilney) (speaker), Catherine Morland, General Tilney, Mrs. Tilney
Related Symbols: Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Volume 2, Chapter 13 Quotes

That room, in which her disturbed imagination had tormented her on her first arrival, was again the scene of agitated spirits and unquiet slumbers. Yet how different now the source of her inquietude from what it had been then—how mournfully superior in reality and substance! Her anxiety had foundation in fact, her fears in probability; and with a mind so occupied in the contemplation of actual and natural evil, the solitude of her situation, the darkness of her chamber, the antiquity of the building were felt and considered without the smallest emotion; and though the wind was high, and often produced strange and sudden noises throughout the house, she heard it all as she lay awake, hour after hour, without curiosity or terror.

Related Characters: Catherine Morland
Related Symbols: Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey Symbol Timeline in Northanger Abbey

The timeline below shows where the symbol Old Buildings / Northanger Abbey appears in Northanger Abbey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 1, Chapter 11
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
...much, but John says they will be able to do even more, going also to Blaize Castle . Catherine asks if Blaize Castle is an old building and like the castles one... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
In the carriage, Catherine looks forward to seeing an old building like the one in Udolpho, but feels hurt that the Tilneys gave up so easily... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
...Tilneys no matter how thrilling the castle is. Still she looks forward to seeing this old building . After about an hour, James pulls up and says that they must go back:... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 15
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...rushing around and being rained on. Catherine is relieved to learn that they didn’t visit Blaize Castle without her. (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 2
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
...as to ask Catherine to come and spend some time with Eleanor at their home, Northanger Abbey. He makes a long speech saying how honored he would be to host her,... (full context)
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...and quickly writes to her parents to get explicit permission to make the trip to Northanger Abbey a certainty. She feels that she is the luckiest person in the world: she... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Catherine is thrilled that she will be visiting an abbey, an old building and similar to the setting of the gothic novels she loves. She... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 3
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
...missed her very much, because she has been so preoccupied with her trip to the abbey. When she does run into Isabella in the Pump-room, Isabella pulls her aside. Isabella seems... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 5
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
As she heads to Northanger Abbey, Catherine at first feels very uncomfortable among the Tilneys. Although Henry and Eleanor are... (full context)
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
General Tilney suggests that Catherine should ride the rest of the way to Northanger Abbey with Henry in his open carriage. She thinks of what Mr. Allen said about... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...to live in an ordinary parsonage, after growing up in an old building like the abbey. (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Smiling, Henry asks if Catherine has a very high opinion of the abbey. She says she does, and asks if it is really “a fine old place, just... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...close to their destination, Catherine keeps her eyes peeled for a sign of the grand old building . She passes through its gates without seeing anything antique looking, but instead sees modern... (full context)
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
...the room is very simple and plain, but that there are other, better rooms at Northanger. He exclaims that it is almost five, and Miss Tilney rushes Catherine to her room... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 6
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
...now feels relieved to be in a comfortable, renovated home, rather than in a haunted-seeming abbey from a book. Convinced that there is nothing to fear in her room, she decides... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 7
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
The General offers to give a tour of Northanger, and Catherine gladly accepts. The General says that he can see she may prefer looking... (full context)
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Seeing the Abbey from the lawn, Catherine praises it enthusiastically, to the General’s pleasure. Catherine is shocked by... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
...sends her back to rest, but instructs Eleanor to wait for him to tour the Abbey. (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 8
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...is disappointed to see so many modern things and that an entire part of the old building has been destroyed and a modern structure put up in its place. She is glad,... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...that wing and a winding staircase. She feels that the interesting, old part of the Abbey is being kept from her. Eleanor tells her that that was her mother’s room. Catherine... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
...a chance. Catherine understands that this means that they must wait until the General leaves Northanger. She asks Eleanor how long it has been since her mother's death, and learns it’s... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...Tilney must stay up late because his wife is alive, but locked up in the Abbey somewhere, and that he must wait until the rest of the house is asleep to... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 9
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...not let the monument convince her that Mrs. Tilney is not being held prison in Northanger Abbey; she has read of burials being staged. (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...go immediately. Entering, she sees a cheerful and tidy room that is part of the abbey’s newer construction. The surroundings make her doubt her theory that the General harmed his wife,... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 10
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Catherine realizes that she had been looking for something dramatic when she came to Northanger. She sees that, although the novels she reads are very entertaining, they do not always... (full context)
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
...James. James writes that his engagement with Isabella is over, and that she should leave Northanger before Captain Tilney arrives and announces his engagement to Isabella, as this would put Catherine... (full context)
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
...that she must ask that they let her know if their brother is coming to Northanger, because she must avoid meeting him. Eleanor is very surprised. Henry guesses that this has... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 11
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
...Eleanor are sure that Frederick will not have the courage to come in person to Northanger to ask his father's consent to marry Isabella, and Catherine is reassured that she does... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...on Wednesday and prevent their going to Woodston. She is no longer charmed by the abbey and cannot wait to see Woodston. Although it is a regular parsonage, she thinks it... (full context)
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
...is beautiful. The General tells Henry that, in this case, they must not tear this old cottage down. Catherine realizes what is being hinted and goes silent, although the General continues to... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 13
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
...terrible message so soon after they had agreed that Catherine should extend her visit at Northanger. She tells Catherine that it is the General who has returned. He has remembered a... (full context)
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
...General. Catherine spends a sleepless night, similar to her first night when she feared that Northanger was the scene of some frightening story, but much worse, because her anxieties are now... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 14
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
...however, about how Henry will take the news of her having been turned out of Northanger. She alternately thinks that he will calmly accept his father’s will and that he will... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 15
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
...of pleasure and now she must be content, although her home is less grand than Northanger. Mrs. Morland says she knows of an essay about young girls who have been spoiled... (full context)