We are not alone in reading the novel, Catherine reads with us, analysing as she does so the meanings of events and characters we encounter.
Northanger Abbey: AS & A2
Catherine, at first, is too inexperienced and excitable to distinguish between what she imagines and what it is reasonable for her to expect from reality.
For most women in Austen’s society, only marriage can bring financial security and social status: fierce competition to win rich husbands makes women into rivals.
Fullerton and Woodston are presented as safe and benign environments whose shared integrity stands in marked contrast to the ruthless insincerity fostered at Bath.
Catherine learns, as the narrative progresses, that true friendship depends not upon the extravagant professions of affection of Isabella but upon honest words and deeds.