Eleanor Tilney Character Analysis Essay

Most would think that the heroine of a novel is strong and courageous. However, in the novel Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, this is not the case. The heroine in this novel is more like a damsel in distress, someone who is confused and entangled in many life problems. Eleanor Tilney’s characteristics of vulnerability and dependence classify her as the real gothic heroine. A heroine illustrated as powerless seems to be contradicting, but is used on purpose. Austen uses satire to portray Eleanor Tilney with the title of a heroine, but is actually weak and dependent to further satirize what it means to be a hero.
Austen creates Eleanor to use histories as a structure to live her life, while in contrast, Catherine is created to use novels as a way to free herself. Eleanor uses male histories as guidelines on how to live her life. The histories Eleanor reads makes her, “trust history – male history – more, and therefore trusts herself less. She enjoys the “inventions” of male historians, but lacks the imagination and initiative to invent herself a better history” (Fuller 102). She trusts the histories more than she trusts herself and getting caught up in the past, holds her back from creating a new life of her own. Austen creates Eleanor to be a follower to satirize the role of heroines in novels….

They both are women dealing with the same problems. Those problems being, finding their path in life, and power dynamic in relationships. Eleanor struggles to set up a life of her own, and is found to be inferior to men. Characteristics likes these depict her as unhero like and Catherine’s free life portrays her as a hero. However, Fuller states that Eleanor is the real hero. By making fun of a hero, Austen may suggest that heros and heroines really don’t exist, and what they do on the outside doesn’t reflect what they do on the…