The novel encompasses a strong morale, guidance for the choice for true companion and shows how other considerations are mere shallow. ‘Northanger Abbey’ can be treated as a torch bearer of the Austen canon. Very rightly, it upholds or clearly indicates the theme of Jane’s forthcoming novels. As a literary piece, the novel has a great value. ‘Northanger Abbey’ encompasses within its plot, few frivolities of the Eighteenth century literature and encapsulates many of the contemporary fiction and their genre.
The novel, ‘Northanger Abbey’ is often claimed by critics as “earliest and least perfect”. It is also criticized that ‘Northanger Abbey’, “lacks the narrative sophistication of the later works”. But the main fact is quite different from all these criticism. Within its limited scope, Austen tried to portray a discursive description of what a fiction might be. He precisely shows the way that how a novel should be written and most importantly, read. The heroine of ‘Northanger Abbey’ Catherine is deliberately portrayed as a complete deviation from the conventional heroines of Eighteenth century fictions. Catherine is simple and notably undistinguished. She is a girl from a middle-class family and she falls in love with her hero, much before the hero of Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ put any of his serious thoughts on the girl. All these deviations prove that Austen desperately wanted to re-shape and re-evaluate Eighteenth century fiction and its reading pattern along with the writing style. This is also a vital reason for manifesting the plot of ‘Northanger Abbey’ in a fashion of a parody for Gothic Fiction.
‘Northanger Abbey’ is indeed an important literary document; purely concomitant to the Radcliffeian popularity, and is truly a literary landmark. It is more than a mere debunking sentimental Gothic novel. It is a serious attempt to depose a narrative technique that challenges the stress on characters by Richardson and