Northanger Abbey Volume 2, Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey Volume 2, Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mr. Morland and Mrs. Morland are shocked to be asked for Catherine’s hand in marriage, since it had never occurred to them that she was in love with Mr. Tilney. They can see that he has pleasing manners and good sense, and they happily give their consent for Catherine’s marriage, as soon as the General should give his. They do not demand the General’s money. Henry Tilney is sure of a fortune regardless of the General’s consent, and it is clear to the Morlands that their daughter will be much wealthier than they could have hoped for her to be after marrying. Henry and Catherine can only accept the Morlands’ position and hope for the General to eventually give his consent, although they fear that this will never happen. Henry returns to Woodston to prepare for marriage, and Catherine waits anxiously at Fullerton, where her parents look the other way when she receives letters from Henry.
Like Catherine, the other Morlands are not focused on money. They want their children to marry people who share their values and their code of conduct. They are pleased that Catherine has met a man with such a large fortune, but they will not sacrifice propriety so that Catherine can be wealthy. For this reason, the Morlands will not approve of her marriage without the proper permission from General Tilney. Catherine and Henry have similar respect for the rules that govern marriage in their society, and agree to the Morlands’ terms.
Themes
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Experience and Innocence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
Readers of the book can see from the very few remaining pages that it will soon end, the Narrator remarks, and so they cannot share Henry and Catherine’s anxiety. But how could the General be brought around? It was Eleanor’s marriage to a man with both wealth and rank that changed the General’s mind. Eleanor and this man had loved each other for some time, but he only proposed to her after inheriting a large fortune and the title of Viscount. It was his laundry bills that Catherine had found in her room at Northanger.
As the novel closes, the Narrator again draws attention to its status as a novel, pointing out how readers form their expectations based on how many pages remain. Notably, the sensitive and moral Eleanor marries someone who shows the same loyalty to her that Henry shows to Catherine. Although a rich Viscount could likely marry someone richer and with a title, he seemingly remains loyal to Eleanor because he loves her.
Themes
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon
Eleanor and her husband, a Viscount, help persuade the General to accept Henry’s marriage to Catherine. It also helps that Catherine is not nearly as poor as John Thorpe described her to be in his second encounter with the General. Upon marriage, Catherine receives three thousand pounds. In the end, despite the delay, Catherine and Henry marry at the ages of eighteen and twenty-six. The General’s cruelty even perhaps helps to make Catherine and Henry happier, as it helps them to know one another better and to strengthen their attachment.
Catherine turns out to be richer than the General thought, but more important to Henry, she is more committed to the rules of conduct that make a gentlewoman than the General is himself. The novel concludes that facing trials strengthens a couple’s bond. Loyalty in the face of adversity is both a testament to love and a way to strengthen it.
Themes
Wealth and Respectability Theme Icon
Loyalty and Love Theme Icon