GRE Reading Comprehension
In Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen rejects and satirizes English Jacobin political Gothicism. In the unfamiliar setting of Northanger Abbey, Catherine makes many dramatic mistakes in interpretation. Lacking the worldly experience to chasten and direct her subjective, "natural" sympathies and imagination, she relies on what she has learned in reading novels and interprets her present world as if it were a Gothic romance: Catherine sees General Tilney as a tyrant and Northanger Abbey as a facade for secret horrors. Catherine's suitor and Tilney's son, Henry, recognizes her error and reminds her of the current social and political reality, his speech asserting a particular view of the present constitution of Britain and thus of British society. Critic Goldstein found it characteristic of Austen's disregard of novelistic excess that Henry's perception of Catherine's error does not diminish the value of her character in his eyes, nor lead him to reject her as a prospective wife—which would be too indicative of a mere Gothic novel.
Which of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?
- A Jane Austen, author of Northanger Abbey, is a na?ve writer, however accomplished.
- B The Northanger Abbey character of Henry Tilney is less tolerant than his father, General Tilney, whom Catherine imagines to be a tyrant.
- C In Austen's novel Northanger Abbey, her lead protagonist's inner strength becomes her weakness.
- D Jane Austen describes in Northanger Abbey the political reality and the constitution of British society.
- E Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's satire of Gothic novels and their readers.
Correct Answer: E