Northanger Abbey, or Hipster Twihards and Backhanded Compliments: The Masterpost, Part 1

Standard

Hi again!  I’m back with another installment of Whitney Livetweets Gothic Fiction.  This time I’m tackling Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and having way too much fun doing so.  Here’s what went down in chapters 1 through 15.

Chapter 1 in a nutshell:  backhanded compliments ahoy!

  • “No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.” – wow Jane, backhanded compliment
  • oh my god – so I knew coming in that this book is a sendup of Gothic/sensational novels, but DANG, NOBODY WAS KIDDING
  • Catherine’s father “was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters” – WOW.
  • z-snapping it out for Calamity Jane
  • from the way Jane’s describing her, Catherine Morland is the original Bella Swan
  • except with 100% more mischief and 100% less sparkly vampire bull****
  • oh man, y’all. so our favorite C-student Catherine learned the fable of “The Hare With Many Friends” during her lackluster education.
  • that wasn’t one I was familiar with, so I looked it up, and judging from what I read in the introduction, this is brilliant foreshadowing.
  • gosh, it’s like that one line in The Picture of Dorian Gray when Henry says Dorian is a Narcissus
  • Catherine: *plays Chopsticks all the live-long day*
    Mrs. Morland: alright let’s teach you the piano
    Catherine: lol wait never mind
  • “[Catherine] is almost pretty today” – wow, now we have her parents coming in with the backhanded compliments
  • all things considered, though, Catherine Morland genuinely does not give a fig about compliments being backhanded. good for you, girlfriend.
  • oh, and now we get the first mention of Catherine being in her Twihard phase.
  • though “she was in training for a heroine” is the most deliciously meta way to put it.
  • have I mentioned lately that I really love Jane Austen?
  • ah and of course, Cate is quoting all the wrong quotables from Shakespeare. first up, we have Iago’s “trifles light as air” bit.
  • I mean, the sentiment in and of itself isn’t wrong, but Cate… you’re gleaning life lessons from *Iago.*
  • that’s like if Cate lived in 2009 and she put “you’re my own personal brand of heroin” as her blog title on Tumblr
  • this next quote is from Measure for Measure, of all plays.
  • second quote: “And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
    In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
    As when a giant dies.”
  • this from a scene in which (as far as I can tell – haven’t read this play in years) Isabella is chewing her brother Claudio out.
  • like, the rest of that exchange is basically Isabella telling Claudio he deserves to die for getting both of them (esp her) in such a bind.
  • that’s like if Cate out “and so the lion fell in love with the lamb” in the about box on her Twihard blog
  • like… maybe kinda pretty on its own if you squint, but completely taken out of context.
  • and then the last one is from Twelfth Night, so of course I knew it on sight.
  • “…a young woman in love looks ‘like Patience on a monument / Smiling at grief.'”
  • I’ll probably have way more thinky thoughts on that one and how it relates to the larger themes once I’m further along in the book
  • “Her greatest deficiency was in the pencil” – oh, so we’ve progressed from backhanded compliments to just backhands now, apparently
  • “she had no notion of drawing” – same tbh
  • gosh, and all that fantastic meta snark was just in chapter 1.
  • also I lied, I’m not quite done with chapter 1. I should note that Catherine is going on an Adventure!! to Bath!!!

Chapter 2 in a nutshell:  awkward Regency frat party

  • k now I’m done. on to chapter 2.
  • “in case you missed it the first three times I said it, Catherine is actually a nice person” – thanks, Calamity Jane
  • it’s funny, that’s the only respect in which Catherine actually fits the stereotypical Gothic heroine mold: her innocence and sweetness.
  • if there’s one thing I’ve learned from livetweeting, it’s that Gothic writers LOOOOOOOOVE to give sweet innocent girls terrible fates.
  • ahahaha Catherine is “when in good looks, pretty”
    translated: “she has a couple good selfie angles”

    • @MsLewell:  “she holds the camera above her head and always hits the good angled light”
    • @klahom:  “she looks fine with, like, two-thirds of the Instagram filters”
    • @klahom:  “she does a decent duckface”
    • @MsLewell:  “she follows the Rule of Contouring religiously”
    • (this was too good not to include)
  • “neither a borrower nor a lender be” – Mrs. Morland’s parting words to Catherine, basically
  • so it turns out the lady who invited Catherine to Bath is… erm, not actually all that cool. whoops.
  • “why is SHE married” – everyone in Bath about Mrs. Allen, basically
  • Catherine’s getting a makeover!
  • Extreme Makeover: Bath Edition
  • …………….okay that was terrible
  • like, imagine Material Girl playing over the makeover scene in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and it’s basically what’s happening now
  • now Cate’s attending her first Regency frat party.
  • Mrs. Allen has “more care for the safety of her new gown than for the safety of her protegée,” like the most irresponsible sorority big ever
  • and oh man, is this ever a wild party. some of the ladies have HUGE FEATHERS in their HATS.
  • “sorry, excuse me, sorry, I’m terribly sorry ma’am” – Catherine for like two whole minutes while she and her big weave through the crowd
  • it’s just like me in high school – I was the worst at navigating hallway traffic
  • this is the perfect encapsulation of my life: I literally wrote an essay about how bad I was at school hallway traffic, and it won a prize
  • literally nobody is dancing with Catherine and it’s so awkward.
  • and Mrs. Allen is totally not helping anything.
  • “I wish you could dance, my dear – I wish you could get a partner” – uh, Mrs. Allen, that’s like the exact opposite of soothing.
  • again with the backhanded statement, jeez.
  • “k but this party kind of sucks though” – Catherine after like an hour of being a wallflower
  • Mrs. Allen seems literally incapable of thinking of anything as uncomfortable. which, of course, makes everything uncomfortable.
  • now Catherine’s starting to wonder if they crashed this party
  • oh my god
    Mr. Allen: did you have a good time?
    Cate: yeah, totally. *gigantic jaw-cracking yawn*
    that’s literally what happened just now
  • on the bright side, now that a few people are leaving this shindig, more people are noticing Catherine. in an “oh, that person exists” way.
  • on the even brighter side, two boys think Catherine is pretty! get it gurl

Chapter 3 in a nutshell:  enter the mildly hunky, meta-spouting love interest

  • oh my god, Mrs. Allen keeps talking about how she has no friends
  • breaking news, Mr. and Mrs. Morland: you basically sent your daughter to live with the town weirdos
  • good job. A+ parenting.
  • oh boy oh BOY OH BOY, here comes our love interest!
  • “he’s okay-looking and not an entirely abhorrent person, I guess” – ah, good ol’ Calamity Jane is at it again.
  • this dude Tilney is self-aware af and it’s great
  • update: I can’t decide if this guy is funny and nice or funny and a jerk
  • on second thought: “In every power… excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes.”
  • alright, Tilney, you can stay. for now.
  • so Mrs. Allen the perpetual tone-deaf party pooper interrupts Catherine’s first real social interaction because her dress is torn. of course
  • jesusmadia, woman, don’t you know an acquaintance when you see one?
  • probably not tbh – pretty sure Mrs. Allen would only know an acquaintance if it waved a pretty dress in front of her
  • and even then she’d probably only have eyes for the dress
  • now Mrs. Allen and the Tilney dude are talking in detail about muslins, and Tilney actually knows way too much about the subject
  • Mrs. Allen is like the socially awkward wannabe version of Miranda Priestley
  • omg Catherine got to DANCE

Chapter 4 in a nutshell:  let’s be friends!  best friends!

  • a new day dawns, and Catherine hastens to see her snarky new acquaintance, but alas! he’s nowhere to be found!
  • Tilney probably just slept in – I know a super-detailed conversation about muslins would put *me* right off
  • “gosh, I wish we knew literally anyone here” – Mrs. Allen, for the hundred thousandth time
  • oh my god. Mrs. Allen just found somebody she knows. PLOT TWIST
  • now Mrs. Allen and this Mrs. Thorpe lady are catching up on fifteen years of missed history. I bet it took hours.
  • oh my god
    Mrs. Thorpe: all my kids are smart and talented and beautiful and they’ll probably win the Nobel Prize
  • Mrs. Thorpe has three daughters, all of whom are obnoxiously pretty
  • now I’m almost wishing I hadn’t read the introduction because I already know that Isabella is fake af
  • “Isabella is the prettiest of all my daughters” – Mrs. Thorpe, in front of both of her other daughters
  • apparently Catherine’s older brother “formed an intimacy with a young man of his own college” – pardon my snickering
  • is it just me or is “taking a turn about the room” with another female character code for “this character is a conniving minx”
  • ………………….update, I actually kind of ship Catherine and Isabella now
  • seriously, older and more worldly girl + younger naive girl = stock lesbian trope tbh
  • I feel like what’s happening with Catherine and Isabella right now is basically this gifset:

  • upon parting from her new gal pal, Cate ran to her window and watched Isabella saunter down the walk. I am not making this up.
  • Cate, honey, that’s a lil gay. just a bit.
  • “this is all you need to know about the Thorpes. now you don’t have to read like ten chapters of Mrs. Thorpe’s whining” – Jane, basically
  • bless Jane Austen.

Chapter 5 in a nutshell:  screw the establishment, novels are TOO literature!

  • Cate’s at the theater making eyes at her new gal pal one moment and looking for Tilney the next.
  • Isabella has a type, apparently, and that type is clergymen
  • gotta love a man in uniform
  • who wants to bet she’s going to try to steal Tilney
  • oop, Jane basically just confirmed that that’s what’s going to happen. Isabella, you minx.
  • Jane has now used the phrase “increasing tenderness” to refer to Catherine and Isabella twice. help.
  • what’s more, our two gal pals “shut themselves up, to read novels together.” that is the nerdiest thing I’ve ever read and I love it
  • omg omg omg omg Jane is on a TEAR right now, in defense of the novel, and it is AMAZING
  • I want to print out a copy of this whole rant and tack it up on my wall
  • that’s the end of chapter 5, and what a glorious end it was.

Chapter 6 in a nutshell:  the Cate and Izzy Books and Boys Club

  • “here, let me provide a sample of Catherine and Isabella’s conversation so you can see for yourself how increasingly tender they are” – Jane
  • it’s like she ships it too
  • and the first thing we find out is that Isabella is a bit of a drama queen
  • Izzy: *has been waiting for five minutes*
    Cate: *arrives*
    Izzy: oh my GOD WHY are you so LATE Noah loaded up his ARK while I WAITED
  • calm down, Izzy. yeesh.
  • today on the Cate and Izzy Book Club: The Mysteries of Udolpho
  • Izzy has a whole list of books for them to read next, too.
  • I’m fairly certain I read something about how it was only discovered recently that the novels in Izzy’s list actually existed for real…
  • found it!
  • adding all of these to my list, brb
  • “my attachments are always excessively strong” – oh look, Izzy just summed herself up perfectly
  • Izzy claims she would defend her friend Miss Andrews to the grave and calls her insipid on the very next page.
  • wait wait wait. hold up. I think Jane just hinted that Tilney is mixed-race?
  • Izzy: “I have not forgotten your description of Mr. Tilney–‘a brown skin, with dark eyes and rather dark hair.'”
  • that’s it, Tilney is mixed-race.
  • “I like a sallow better than any other” – this just in, Izzy is into vampires
  • clergymen and vampires. what fascinating tastes you have, Izzy.
  • all Cate wants to talk about is Udolpho, but Izzy just will not stop talking about boys
  • “ew, boys are watching us, let’s bounce” – Izzy, basically
  • Izzy: let’s avoid these weirdos
    Izzy: k now let’s go to the hat shop
    Cate: but won’t they see us again or something
    Izzy: lol idgaf
    Cate:

Chapter 7 in a nutshell:  John Thorpe is basically the worst

  • chapter 7 starts out with a near-carriage accident. auspicious.
  • oh wait hold up – so the two weird guys watching Cate and Izzy were actually their respective brothers?
  • ooohhhhh, Cate’s brother James totally has the hots for Izzy
  • John Thorpe, on the other hand, exaggerates everything like his sister does and won’t shut up about his horse. what a charmer.
  • oh okay so James and John weren’t the two weirdos who were staring at Cate and Izzy earlier. thanks for clearing that up, Calamity Jane.
  • oh my god, John, please do the entire world a favor and shut up about your horse and carriage
  • oh god, John just volunteered Cate for daily joyrides in his carriage and now Cate’s kind of panicking a little
  • “oh god what did I just agree to” – Cate, pretty much
  • “nothing ruins horses so much as rest” – John, who’s probably going to run his poor horse to death
  • apparently John is engaged? I don’t envy the poor girl who has to marry him
    • edit after the fact:  thank heavens, that just means he has plans
  • oh my god now John is rating the appearance of every woman they pass on the road
  • John Thorpe is the original straight white boy on OKCupid
  • in a desperate attempt to talk about something other than male opinions on the female face, Cate asks John if he’s read Udolpho.
  • “Oh, Lord! Not I; I never read novels” – good to know my initial assessment of his character was on point
  • so John decries Udolpho, but then he says The Monk is the best novel since Tom Jones and he read it the other day
    ??????????????
  • John: lol ew Udolpho
    John: I’m only going to read that Radcliffe lady’s novels
    Cate: um, Ann Radcliffe wrote Udolpho
    John: oh
  • John Thorpe is at once Fake Geek Boy and
  • oh my god
    John: Hi Mom!
    John: omg that hat is so ugly you look like a witch
  • darn it, Jane, everyone else in my house is asleep, I can’t keep bursting out laughing like this
  • Catherine finds John annoying for a hot minute before succumbing to everyone else’s good opinions of him. *deep sigh*
  • now Cate and James are catching up, and James just said Izzy is “so thoroughly unaffected” – bro, have you been paying ANY attention?

Chapter 8 in a nutshell:

  • chapter 8 starts out with another party! hopefully this one isn’t as insipid as that other party.
  • at least Cate actually has friends this time around
  • James: hey Izzy let’s dance
    Izzy: nope, not going on the dance floor without your sister
    Cate: 😀
    *3 minutes later*
    Izzy: lol never mind bye
  • and look at that, Catherine is back to being a wallflower.
  • oh hey, Mr. Tilney is back! nice to see you again after like five chapters
  • Catherine saw Tilney talking to another woman and assumed it was his sister instead of a hypothetical wife. you precious cinnamon roll.
  • eye contact has been made. Tilney is coming over to Catherine, Mrs. Allen, and Mrs. Thorpe.
  • and whaddaya know, Tilney just asked Cate to dance again. this has to be like the Regency equivalent of second base
  • darn it, Catherine, don’t turn down Tilney’s offer of a dance in favor of waiting for John “Genre Snob” Thorpe
  • now Miss Tilney (the sister) is sitting by Catherine, and she’s apparently attractive enough that Catherine feels a lot less awkward now.
  • Izzy eventually comes back and saves Cate from what turned out to be a superficial convo with Miss Tilney (who seriously needs a first name)
  • and of course Izzy’s being her usual drama queen self. same old, same old
  • Izzy: omg point Tilney out to me RIGHT NOW
    Izzy: *gets sidetracked chewing James out for eavesdropping*
  • dancing has started up again, and Tilney is now partnered with some other girl. you should have taken the chance when you had it, Catie.
  • oh my god
    Mrs. Allen, quietly: Tilney is a nice guy.
    Mrs. Thorpe, vaguely overhearing: omg isn’t my son amazing
    Cate: what
  • literally, Mrs. Thorpe overheard them talking about Tilney and thought they were talking about John. SO AWK.
  • “…I suppose you and I are to stand up and jig it together again.” – John, just now
  • Cate: um I think I’m a little tired to dance John: that’s cool we can just go around and quiz people! Cate: …
  • side note, did the footnotes in your book say what they mean by “quizzing” people? somehow I doubt it’s anything like Jeopardy
  • and for the rest of this whole party, everything is awkward and Cate is lonely. again.

Chapter 9 in a nutshell:  Catherine can’t catch a break and John is the bro-iest of frat bros

  • so Catherine goes home in a pissy mood, sleeps for nine hours and wakes up like a Disney princess all over again
  • Cate, having resolved to try to find Miss Tilney at the pump-room today (whatever that is), settles in to read more Udolpho.
  • and guess who comes in to ruin everything? John Thorpe. big surprise.
  • Cate may have forgotten that she accidentally agreed to travel around in the Carriage of Marvels with John, but John definitely hasn’t.
  • Catherine right now:
  • Cate just tried to send a telepathic message to Mrs. Allen to get her out of the drive, but obvi that doesn’t work because it’s Mrs. Allen.
  • “my horse’ll probably buck a lot, and he’s a mischievous SOB, but it’s totally fine” – how to freak someone out in .2 seconds by John Thorpe
  • the horse decides to behave this time, and John takes aaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllll the credit. of course.
  • either Jane Austen somehow overheard the same bad date as , or insipid entitled men just never change
  • in a way, Catherine actually frustrates me so much, because you can tell she’s THIS CLOSE to sticking it to the man like 99% of the time
  • and then she’s always like “nah tho”
  • John just suggested that Mr. Allen drinks a bottle a day, in the same tone of voice normal people use to describe others’ exercise regimens.
  • Cate is scandalized, and John offers this as clarification: “Why, you do not suppose a man is overset by a bottle?”
    Depends on the bottle…
  • like are we talking beer bottles or wine bottles here, John, get your measurements standardized
  • more nuggets of wisdom from John: “There is not the hundredth part of wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to be.”
  • welp, I guess that answers the “beer bottles or wine bottles” question
  • oh my god, y’all. John says first that there’s no drinking at Oxford, and then he launches into the story of his last dorm party.
  • where, he specifies, they all downed at least five pints.
  • I cannot stop laughing. John Thorpe is literally a Regency frat bro.
  • like I am literally cackling
  • blah blah blah John will not shut up as per usual
  • Cate: um is this carriage safe?
    John: oh no, we’re all gonna die
    Cate: oh god stop the ride
    John: lol nah, you’re just being a baby
  • poor Cate has never before encountered such a pompous liar. she’s v confused by the concept.
  • oh god, now John’s talking about horse racing and hunting
  • I amend what I said before – he’s literally a *Southern* frat bro
  • anyway, after an agonizing Johnologue, they’re back at the Allens’ house. Izzy is flipping bc she apparently can’t spend more time w/Cate.
  • oh, and of course while Cate was out on the Boredom Ride, Mrs. Allen went to the pump room and ran into the Tilneys.

Chapter 10 in a nutshell:  John is still the actual worst, and Catherine’s luck is steadily improving.

  • the next night, the whole squad goes to the theater, and Izzy talks Cate’s ear off. hopefully not during an actual performance.
  • and then the morning after *that,* the whole squad ends up in the pump-room to hobnob around.
  • including, eventually, Miss Tilney! yay for Cate finally catching a break
  • “How well your brother dances!” – Catherine, making it weird
  • Cate recovered, though – she asked if the Tilneys were going to be at the next party, and they apparently are. yay for catching a break!
  • so now Cate’s worrying about what she’s going to wear to shindig #3, and Jane takes the opportunity to rant a bit about fashion.
  • the whole thing is……. dubiously feminist in its most charitable interpretation, we’ll say
  • the one really good line: “Woman is fine for her satisfaction alone.”
  • Cate shows up at this ball full of the nervous butterflies, as you do
  • ahhhh Tilney asked her to dance again! what a grand time she’s having – OH WAIT HERE COMES JOHN TO RUIN EVERYTHING
  • not even kidding, John literally interrupts the dance Cate and Tilney were about to have in order to act like a friendzoned bro.
  • @ John Thorpe:
  • oh GOD he’s talking about HORSES AGAIN
  • thank god, he just got swept away by the crowd. bless.
  • now John is gone (thank goodness), and Tilney is talking about… dancing as a metaphor for marriage?
  • I know this totally isn’t what Jane meant, but I can’t be the only one thinking of this scene:
  • okay so Tilney’s actually thought out this analogy really well
  • flirting flirting flirting
  • and during all this flirting/discussion of the merits of country life, Cate notices an older man staring at them.
  • turns out it’s General Tilney, aka Papa Tilney. when does the Tilney family get first names again?
  • and look, Catherine just caught another break – she’s going walking the next day with the younger two Tilneys.

Chapter 11 in a nutshell:  Catherine kind of gets kidnapped and it turns out about as well as you’d expect

  • so when we left off, our dashing heroine-in-training was fending off a Regency frat bro and dancing with the meta-snarky love interest.
  • Catherine is obsessing over whether or not the weather will ruin her walking date with the Tilney siblings.
  • she’d HATE it in Oklahoma
  • now Cate is distraught because it apparently never rains in books
  • on the bright side, the weather is clearing up. on the not-so-bright side, with the sun comes John Thorpe’s Carriage of Wonders.
  • go away, John, nobody likes you
  • John to Catherine:
  • Cate’s kind of ehhhhh about this whole Carriage of Wonders thing, but literally everybody is trying to convince her to go
  • Cate: no but really, I’m supposed to hang out with the Tilneys today
    John: seriously? they totally ditched you lol
  • here’s betting John is a dirty liar
  • so poor gullible Catherine goes along with it. this is going to turn out SO well.
  • I WAS RIGHT JOHN IS A LYING NO-GOOD SNOTRAG
  • John was all like “they’re in a carriage, driving out of town!” but they literally just passed the Tilneys walking in town
  • @ John:
  • dude I uh
    I think
    John and Izzy maybe sorta just kidnapped Cate a little
  • Cate: hey, let me out
    Cate: seriously
    Cate: JOHN
    John: hi I’m John Thorpe and this is Jackass
  • actually I feel like that’s a pretty good description of John himself – “hi I’m John Thorpe and this is Jackass”
  • Oh dang, Cate is CHEWING HIM OUT. YOU GO GIRL
  • so Cate has stopped raking John over the coals for the time being, but she’s still being a total Grumpy Cat and I love it.
  • James: um so I google-mapped this trip and there is literally no way we can do all this in a day
    John: shut your face dude
  • oh and now John is blaming James for getting them such a sad-sack horse
  • but thank goodness, common sense prevails, and the ragtag band of adventurers returns to town.
  • and wouldn’t you know it, the Tilneys came to the Allens’ house and asked after Cate while she was being quasi-kidnapped. bad timing, man.
  • that night, for some reason that eludes me, the whole group chills at the Thorpes’ house, and Izzy is her usual Chatty Kathy self.
  • at one point during a conversation with Cate, Izzy blames the Tilneys for how the day turned out, instead of herself and her rotten brother.
  • she and Mrs. Allen should co-found the Really Bad At Consoling People Club

Chapter 12 in a nutshell: Murphy’s Law.

  • the next day, Cate is bound and determined to apologize to Miss Tilney for being kidnapped and stuff.
  • (okay I swear I’m just going to call Miss Tilney some random name till she gets one… Anna works fine)
  • *Cate shows up at the Tilney house*
    Cate: hi, is Miss Tilney at home?
    Servant: uh
    Servant: n…no?
  • Cate is so sure the servant was lying and Anna is actually home.
  • and oop, what do you know, when she gets to the street corner and looks back, who should she see emerging from the house but Anna?
  • ouch.
  • so having been suitably dissed, Cate gets all despondent… for like ten seconds.
  • fast forward to that evening. the crew is at the theater. again.
  • none other than Mr. Tilney shows up in act 5 of this play… and this time he gets a first name, Henry!
  • about time, Calamity Jane, about time. now to give Henry’s sis a name…
  • Henry bows in Cate’s direction at one point, and it is literally the most savage cold-hearted bow ever apparently
  • of course, this only makes Cate more desperate to make amends, the poor girl.
  • once the show’s over, Cate goes into full-on Where In the World is Henry Tilney mode
  • Cate: omg there you are I’m so sorry it looked like I blew you off yesterday but I kind of got kidnapped anyway I’m REALLY SUPER SORRY
  • ELEANOR. that’s the sister’s name. about darn time.
  • so it turns out that Eleanor totally would have received Cate this morning if not for her dad being high-maintenance
  • this is perhaps one of the most awkward, miscommunications-filled relationships three people have ever had
  • but at least this particular round of miscommunication has been cleared up!
  • the Tilney siblings are the epitome of chill
  • so eventually Henry has to leave, and Cate exits the theater to find John Fratbro Thorpe talking with – who else – General Tilney
  • Cate: so how do you know General Tilney John: *a whole monologue about how he beat the dude at pool once* Cate: …
  • oh boy howdy, they were talking about Cate. just like she thought/feared.
  • I’m about to turn the page and see how this whole shebang worked out. ten bucks says John’s about to frat-bro it up.
  • well, I wasn’t wrong. John is definitely flirting. but then again, we’ve known that practically since he roared onto the scene, haven’t we?
  • thank god, though, it’s not embarrassing enough to merit actual narration.
  • the upshot of all that is that General Tilney has a good opinion of her too. it’s like she’s collected the whole set of ’em.

Chapter 13 in a nutshell:  this ancient Earth ballad

(side note, I’d never actually watched the Toxic video before – that was quite the trip)

  • oh for god’s sake, Izzy and James are still on about going to Clifton and stuff.
  • Everyone else: *scheming*
    Cate: hey
    Everyone else: OMG COME WITH US RIGHT NOW TO CLIFTON PLZ
    Cate: oh my god what
  • Cate: wait what no I can’t go on this trip, I already have plans
    Everyone: DITCH ‘EM
    Cate: what
    Cate: no
  • and here, ladies and germs, is some solid character development: Cate absolutely refuses to ditch the Tilneys and go on this road trip.
  • and of COURSE Izzy undertakes to ruin all Cate’s lovely character development by being a total weasel.
  • “why are you hanging out with someone who isn’t me omg I’m so offended” – flattery didn’t work, so now Izzy’s guilting Cate. charming.
  • brief pause to say it outright: Isabella Thorpe is a textbook toxic friend. if you have an Isabella Thorpe in your life, get ’em out.
  • oh MAN OH MAN – I thought surely Cate was going to crack under all the guilt-tripping, but she’s still not having any of it!
  • atta girl, Cate, atta girl
  • god DANG IT, now James is allying with the Thorpes. CATE IS YOUR SISTER, YOU SNOTTY TISSUE.
  • but hey, at least Cate is nailing it w/r/t Izzy: “ungenerous and selfish, regardless of everything but her own gratification.”
  • Catherine uses COMPROMISE! It’s not very effective.
  • oh my god, Izzy and James and John are all being SUCH WHINY BABIES
  • Izzy: fine, if you won’t go I won’t go. hmph.
    John: I’m not going if I can’t drive you, Cate.
  • OH MY GOD. guess how Cate replies to John?
    “That is a compliment which gives me no pleasure.”
    DANG. DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG.
  • Cate just got her first zinger of the book. she’s a real card-carrying heroine now.
  • me right now:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8EMndSFFMk
  • sadly, this glorious zinger goes over everyone else’s heads, and they keep peer-pressuring the heck out of her.
  • James: “you once were the kindest, best-tempered of my sisters”
    Translation: “you used to be a doormat, what happened”
  • wait, apparently John left at some point? because he just came back, and he looks happy. this is going to be bad.
  • WHAT. JOHN TOTALLY JUST SNEAKED OFF AND TOLD ELEANOR THAT CATE WAS GOING TO DITCH HER.
  • @ John “incapable of taking no for an answer” Thorpe:
  • Izzy and James apparently see nothing at all wrong with John’s meddling. Cate, on the other hand, is NOT AMUSED.
  • Cate: dude what no Cate: I’m going to go tell Eleanor what’s up Everyone else: lol no you’re not
  • they literally, physically stop her from going after Eleanor. jesusmadia.
  • I’ll just reiterate again: if you, dear reader, have people like this in your life, GET THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE BECAUSE THEY ARE TOXIC.
  • bless Catherine Morland’s soul, though, she’s having NONE OF THIS ISH. WAY TO BE, CATIE, WAY TO BE.
  • Cate to her so-called friends:
  • update: Catherine breaks free of them and goes after the Tilneys to undo the damage John did. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. ❤
  • anyhoodle, Cate eventually catches up to the Tilneys………… by, um, barging into their house. maybe not your best decision, kiddo.
  • it’s all good, though – the Tilneys are chill as always and totally understood!
  • and Cate leaves the Tilney residence with a proper introduction to the General and a standing invitation to dinner.
  • oh gosh, now her self-esteem is beginning to waver again. come on, Cate, keep up that spectacular character development…
  • so when Cate gets home, she asks the Allens if she did the right thing, in a roundabout sort of manner- and bless them, they side with her.
  • although for different reasons – Mr. Allen cites propriety, and Mrs. Allen can only think of how clothing can get ruined in open carriages.

Chapter 14 in a nutshell:  Catherine finally hangs out with people who aren’t total jerks and it’s wonderful

  • a new day dawns once again, and everything’s coming up roses for Catherine.
  • the Terrible Three are nowhere to be found, which is a huge part of it.
  • in news that should surprise absolutely no one, Henry LOVES novels.
  • now Henry, Eleanor, and Catherine are talking about books in general, and it’s delightful.
  • “…the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all” – Cate going IN on history
  • god I hope she gets good lines like this throughout the rest of the novel, because this is amazing
  • basically, actual intelligent conversation is happening among adults right now, and I am outright rejoicing.
  • now Henry and Eleanor are talking about drawing. which, if you’ll recall, Cate can’t do, like at all.
  • apparently this is a touchy enough subject to cue another long aside from Calamity Jane.
  • “…if [a woman has] the misfortune of knowing anything, [she] should conceal it as well as she can.”
  • I feel like Calamity Jane has been burned before
  • “The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth… [by] a sister author” – who is this?
    • UPDATE:  it has since been established that nobody appears to know who this sister author is.  I’m going to try to find out.
  • so now Henry’s telling Cate all about drawing, and it’s kind of adorable.
  • “…from politics, it was an easy step to silence.”
    *snort*
  • so Cate just scared the crud out of Eleanor by talking about this horrible thing that was going to come out in London… she meant a book.
  • so Henry goes back and forth from “kind of adorable” to “mildly sexist” and it’s getting irritating
  • so according to Eleanor, Henry’s actually down with feminism, he’s just being silly and teasing his sister. okay…
  • though he’s still a perfect angel compared to hi-I’m-John-Thorpe-and-this-is-Jackass
  • anyway, tl;dr, Cate has a much nicer time with the Tilneys than she would have had in the Carriage of Wonders with the Terror Triplets.
  • and apparently the aforementioned Terror Triplets are cold-shouldering her. so much the better, imo.
  • ooh boy, Cate just found out from one of Izzy’s younger sisters that the Terror Triplets went ahead and drove to Clifton.
  • I really need to come up with a better collective name for them…
  • bless her heart, though, Cate is still optimistic that everything might turn out okay after all.

Chapter 15 in a nutshell:

  • okay so the really funny part of the whole Terrible Three fiasco from ch. 13 is that Cate suggested that one of the other Thorpe (1/2)
  • (2/2) sisters could go instead, and everybody shot that down. guess what happened? the drive happened, and one of the other sisters went.
  • so really, Cate won in a few different ways- by standing up for herself, getting in good with the Tilneys, and having her compromise adopted
  • that’s my girl.
  • and oh boy, of course we start out chapter 15 with the return of Izzy. fantastic
  • according to Maria, the middle sister, the trip was unbelievably wonderful. Cate, true to form, isn’t fussed at all about this.
  • oop, here comes Izzy. I bet she’ll ruin everything in under a page.
  • Izzy: omg Cate you’re so perceptive you notice EVERYTHING
    Cate: um
    Cate: what exactly am I supposed to be seeing
  • oh god. Izzy is in lurve with James. will Cate never be rid of her?
  • “You are so like your brother that I quite doted on you the first moment I saw you.” – Izzy, that’s kinda gay.
  • yay, now it’s TMI time with Izzy
  • Izzy: oh Cate, I’ve suffered so much, I’ve been so anxious, you must keep this a secret
    Cate: it’s… um… not a big deal?
  • Izzy seems to be convincing herself that she’s a textbook Juliet.
  • oh, and wouldn’t you know it, Izzy has a vastly romanticized notion of poverty. >.>
  • James made the gigantic mistake of coming in to say goodbye to Izzy, and now she’s going all Polonius on him
  • “…had he not been frequently detained by the urgent entreaties of his fair one that he would go.” – Counterproductivity 101 with Izzy
  • so anyway, James FINALLY gets to leave, and the Thorpes spend the entire rest of the day winking outrageously at each other.
  • the next day when the post arrives, it’s a yes from the Morland parents.
  • half of me wishes I could warn them that Izzy’s fake af, and half of me thinks Izzy and James deserve each other, the twits
  • oh no. John’s about to do something embarrassing.
  • oh god
    John: so it’s p cool that James and Izzy are getting hitched
    John: what if, like
    John: we did the same thing
    Cate: ???
  • except he’s not even outright asking her. he’s just hinting, VERY VERY HEAVILY, and Cate is just not getting the hint.
  • literally: “Did you ever hear the old song ‘Going to One Wedding Brings On Another’?”
  • dude, if you’re going to drop completely obtuse hints like that, you might as well just ask her outright
  • side note, is that even a real song?
    • “hey Catherine, did you ever hear that one song ‘You’re Hot, Let’s Bang’? Yeah it was totally Usher’s hit single last year”
    • this entire bit is basically him going “haha and then what ;)”
  • ahahahahaha Cate isn’t picking up on any of John’s hints at all and it’s glorious
  • John: let’s see if this outrageously transparent song is true, wink wink Cate: oh I don’t sing
  • John: I do not know anybody like you.*
    Cate: meh, whatever, I’m average.

    *EXACT QUOTE

  • Cate totally shuts John down without even realizing what she’s doing, and I don’t think I could love her more
  • John claims he and Cate “think pretty much alike upon most matters.”
  • Cate leaves because she’s in a hurry to get home, and John’s left thinking of her “explicit encouragement.”
  • so Cate bursts in the door like “IZZY AND JAMES ARE GETTING MARRIED OMG” and both the Allens are like “we totally saw it coming”

That’s it for this roundup!  Next time:  chapters 16-31.

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 10.45.35 PM

Advertisements

Beautiful Objects: Fathers, Daughters, and 2013 Animated Movies

Standard

So it looks like Hotel Transylvania is getting a sequel.  I’ll be honest:  every reminder of that simple fact sets my teeth on edge.  Heck, my teeth are on edge right now just from writing this.

But why? you might be asking.  Well, as it so happens, I’ve just rediscovered a thing I wrote back in 2013 about this precise subject!  I’ve cleaned it up a little bit and gif-ified it.  Here goes:

In a nutshell, movies like Hotel Transylvania and The Croods infantilize their teenage female characters by sympathizing unduly with their overbearing and at times creepy fathers.

Hotel Transylvania, I’d say, is the more egregious example of the two. The entire movie was basically Dracula and Johnny running around, getting into trouble, and discussing Mavis without her actually being present. Drac in particular made a concerted effort to keep Mavis in the dark about everything… in multiple senses of the word, actually, if you’ll forgive the vampire pun.

source: findsomethingtofightfor

For goodness’ sake, he specifically creates a fake town of scary humans so that Mavis would be tricked into thinking the human world was really as bad as he’d always made it out to be.  And it works, too.  She runs back to Daddy’s castle and Daddy’s loving arms, and Drac is satisfied.

source: giphy

That is an unbelievably low, manipulative thing for Drac to do.  But the film doesn’t focus nearly as much as it should on how wrong that is. Instead, we get an entire movie’s worth of borderline-fawning character development for Drac.  “Oh nooooo, my tiny helpless baby girl might have her own ideas!  What a tragedy!”

Screen shot 2015-08-11 at 6.54.26 PM

This might have been more forgivable if Mavis had gotten just as much character development, but her agency throughout most of the movie is blatantly disregarded. She’s just kind of clueless (not of her own volition, either, like I mentioned), and the movie and all its characters seem far more concerned with Drac’s feelings than hers. Good grief, people, if this is going to be a story about a girl gaining agency and becoming a full-fledged adult (which it REALLY should have been), then she needs to be the frickin’ heart and soul of that story.

source: btvs-reaction-gifs

The Croods is in this same vein, but the theme of a father losing power over his daughter is sort of a sub-theme of the larger story: a set-in-his-ways patriarch falling in the face of change. That doesn’t excuse, however, the crappy way this film handled the Eep/Guy romance, and just Eep in general.

source: candacedoesgifs.

YOU WASTED EMMA STONE, PEOPLE.  HOW COULD YOU.

For one thing, all Eep’s character development (which really wasn’t much, compared to Grug’s) was related somehow to the men in her life – her repressed-emotion relationship with her dad, her obvious crush on Guy, her bickering relationship with her brother. I can’t recall one scene in the movie where Eep had a quality conversation with her mom or grandma, or even where she played with Sandy or something.

source: lockerdome.com

Regarding Eep/Guy, it felt as if Guy and Grug were competing to be the dominant man in Eep’s eyes, which is weird and creepy on a lot of levels. Another disturbing thing is that Grug’s systematic denial of Eep’s agency was often played for laughs – I’m thinking in particular of the scene where Grug shoves Guy-trapped-in-a-log away from Eep and sleeps between them. Just from the way that’s framed, you can tell that’s meant to be funny, but to me it was literally the exact opposite of funny.

source: Pinterest

Yes, the entire concept of the movie is kind of that Grug is really overbearing. But he still gets much more quality character development than Eep does, and that sucks.

source: gamedayr.com

But you know what?  Epic actually had a far healthier model of a father-daughter relationship than either of the above movies.

source: iceposter.com

This one, in case you had no idea what I was talking about.

I won’t deny that it had its own problems – the fridging of the only black character, the subsequent damsel-in-distress-ness of that seed-fetus-thing, and the repeated apparently-comedic come-ons from those two slugs come to mind immediately.

source: apenasdivandobr.blogspot.com

Seriously, whose idea was it to kill off Beyoncé’s character?!

But Professor Bomba was the farthest thing from overbearing when it came to his daughter M.K. He assumed at the beginning that M.K. would be all too willing to help him research his mysterious forest creatures, but (1) that seems to have stemmed more from a scientist’s obsession than anything, and (2) once M.K. told him she wasn’t interested, he backed right off.

source: wbpictures

M.K. is never fridged, either – her disappearance definitely advances Bomba’s character development, but it also facilitates her doing her own thing, having her own adventure. That’s something neither Mavis nor Eep really gets to do. The fact that Bomba was right about the Leafmen’s existence does imply a sort of father-knows-best attitude, but that’s mitigated in a sense by the presence of scientific inquiry rather than just a deep-seated and ill-supported belief. Furthermore, Bomba is shown to be perfectly fine with M.K. and Nod’s relationship – no overbearing-ness here.

Now that is how you dad.

source: towsonsam.com

Somehow, though, I doubt ol’ Drac Attack is going to learn that before movie #2.

source: wifflegif.com

And with that…

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 10.45.35 PM

P.S. Speaking of Drac Attack, I swear I’ll get around to finishing Dracula soon!  I’ve been toiling away at job applications lately, but I’ll try to go back to livetweeting this weekend.