Theme Of Selfish Love In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

1495 Words 6 Pages
To reiterate, women accepted their role in a society that “reduces love to a biological impulse and marriage to a profitable alliance” (Giles, 77). We saw how selfish love represented this in Wuthering Heights and now its presence will be investigated in Northanger Abbey. In Northanger Abbey, we are introduced to an interesting protagonist right from the opening line: “No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine” (Austen, 5). Catherine Morland, much like Catherine Earnshaw, was isolated from society and never received proper instructions on how to navigate through it. As Catherine traverses through society, she meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, a seemingly perfect gentleman. Without deeper inquisition, the romance between Catherine and Henry may seem wholly innocent and amorous, but traces of selfishness can be found within it. Both Catherine and Henry act out of self-interest, which ultimately secures a marriage between them. Women’s subjection to society’s demands of marriage is from their strength and not weakness, …show more content…
Their selfishness, which could also be viewed as self-preservation, was symbolic of the instrumental decisions women had to make that could drastically alter the course of their life—whether to marry for love or security. The latter often won out. The love that is represented in Wuthering Heights and Northanger Abbey is not what would fit most readers’ ideas of a healthy, natural love, but a love founded on selfish desires, societal expectations and necessity. These destructive relationships showed the sacrifices women had to make when joining the marketplace and choosing a husband. They were not always able to have who they truly wanted and sometimes ended up with someone they did not realize was not the most suitable mate for

Related Documents