This weekend I was unable to complete this blog post because my power was out. In fact, I felt like I was living inside my own Gothic novel although I had flashlights to penetrate the darkness…
When thinking about this and our blog post for this week I wondered if Catherine Morland is truly a Gothic heroine, or if she is part of Austen’s parody. Not knowing very much about Gothic novels in general, let alone the characteristics of their heroines, I decided to do some research. I found that female Gothic novels typically revolve around a female character who is in need of rescuing. According to the English department at Georgia Southern University, “female Gothic works usually include a female protagonist who is pursued and persecuted by a villainous patriarchal figure in unfamiliar settings and terrifying landscape.”
In my opinion, Catherine does not fit the bill. She has a very good imagination, and is strongly influenced by reading Gothic novels. Catherine is never truly in danger, but allows herself to invent a danger. For example in Vol. II, chapter 6 (in my book anyway), Catherine opens the mysterious chest in her room. The scene is very dramatic as Austen writes “Her fearful curiousity was every moment growing greater; and seizing, with trembling hands, the hasp of the lock, she resolved at all hazards to satisfy herself as to its contents. With difficulty, for something seemed to resist her efforts, she raised the lid a few inches; but at that moment a sudden knocking at the door of the room made her, starting, quit her hold, and the lid closed with alarming violence” (Austen 115). But, Catherine is not in danger at all.
Catherine Morland’s character serves to help create the parody of the Gothic novel.
Check out this glossary of Gothic literary terms of you want to know more! http://personal.georgiasouthern.edu/~dougt/goth.html