Discuss the interactions between Henry and Catherine. Is Henry Tilney’s

  1. Discuss the interactions between Henry and Catherine.  Is Henry Tilney’s “teaching” of Catherine patronizing or bullying or is he just teasing her? Why does Henry feel the need to treat Catherine the way he does?  Is Catherine open to his “help” or does she resist it?  What effect does this have on your feelings about both characters?
  2. In this same line, what do you make of Henry’s teasing of Catherine when it comes to correct language usage (he teases her about her usage of the words “amazingly,” “nicest,” and “torment” — all in chapter fourteen)?  One scholar, Robert Irvine, has suggested that Henry relies on a masculine, patriarchal discourse as a way of “controlling women, not physically by locking them up or removing them from a house, but by controlling their language, telling them what they may and may not say” (Irvine 49).  Do you agree or disagree?  What do you make of Henry in this chapter?
  3. Last week, we read Jane Austen’s opinions of novels in the authorial intrusion in chapter five, and we also read John Thorpe’s opinion of novels.  This week, we read another male character’s opinion of novels:  Henry Tilney’s.  While one male voice condemns the novel genre (Thorpe), one male voice joins in with Austen to defend novels (Tilney).  What do you make of Catherine telling Henry in chapter fourteen that “they [novels] are not clever enough for you — gentlemen read better books” (77).  Why does she say this to Henry?  How is Henry’s response to her important?  What benefit do you think comes from Henry supporting the opinions of Austen herself? 

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