Funny / Northanger Abbey

Funny moments from the book

  • Catherine completely missing the perfect opportunity to be a real heroine by assuming that the lady with Henry Tilney is a rival and fainting dead away in a very devastated and romantic manner, instead she correctly takes her to be Miss Tilney, Henry's sister.
  • John Thorpe asks Catherine to marry her without her realizing it, and her innocent answer is spot-on.
    John Thorpe: Did you ever hear the old song 'Going to One Wedding Brings on Another?' I say, you will come to Belle's wedding, I hope. (...) And then you know, I say, then you know, we may try the truth of this same old song.
    Catherine: May we? But I never sing.
  • Catherine's encounter with the cabinet. Explaining the sequence really wouldn't do it justice, as Austen's Affectionate Parody of breathlessly intense Gothic novel narration is essential to the humor.
  • The scenes where John Thorpe and James Morland brag about their horses and carriages.
  • It's actually hard to pick a Crowning Moment from the Conversational Troping-style narration.
  • Henry Tilney's snarky (and completely accurate) summary of every Gothic novel ever written.
  • Austen writes that Catherine dreams of Henry Tilney the night after she met him... and wonders if it's appropriate for a woman to dream of a man before he dreams of her.
  • Catherine and the younger Tilney siblings learn Isabella, back in Bath, has jilted Catherine's brother for theirs. Unfortunately, they don't see any reason to hope the Gold Digger will do the same to him.
    Henry: I am afraid she will be very constant, unless a Baronet should come in her way; that is Frederick's only chance - I will get the Bath paper and look over the arrivals.
  • Catherine's sudden, unannounced return home is a surprise to everyone in her family except the two youngest children, "who expected a brother or sister in every carriage."