Identity: Interpersonal Relationship and Catherine Essay

Submitted By dvd4493
Words: 1261
Pages: 6

The struggle with identity is a common theme within literature. This is part of what assists us as readers to relate to the characters within a novel. This is especially important for the relationship between the narrator and the reader. We need to see the narrator’s side of the story, so that we can identify with them and be empathetic for them within the plot. Understanding the narrator’s perspective within the novel is especially important to follow their character development through out the story. The concepts of uncertainty, gender roles, and social acceptance are used form characters’ identities and are established further through the comparison of the main characters in the novels Northanger Abbey and Passing in order to show their growth and change in perspective throughout the story. There are many commonalities within the themes of Northanger Abbey and Passing. The use of uncertainty for the main characters is evident in both novels and is important for their understanding their personalities as they change throughout the stories. Uncertainty can be seen through the main character of Catherine in Northanger Abbey. She is very young and naïve at the beginning of the novel and through her experiences she grows into a very perceptive and aware woman. Her uncertainty throughout the novel gives evidence to her inexperience in the social world. She does not know how to interact with other people socially and does not question many of the actions of those around her. As she socializes in this community, she is in the search of herself and her true identity, because at this point she really does not know who she is, this can be seen through the different relationships she forms throughout the novel. This can be seen in Catherine’s relationship with Isabella. She has not previously had too many “girlfriends,” so she is pleased when she becomes close with Isabella. We ultimately find that Isabella really is not a true friend to Catherine through her actions in regards to Catherine and also Catherine’s brother. The idea of Isabella being a “fake” friend is considered in the novel, because of the close relationship that Catherine and Isabella keep, but it is evident that Isabella has more selfish motives from the relationship. This can be compared with the relationship between Irene and Clare in Passing. Clare and Irene also seem to have a “fake” friendship, but why do each of these women continue these relationships? It seems that both Clare and Isabella have traits that Irene and Catherine want, such as confidence, voicing their opinion freely, and they happiness that they seem to always have. Irene and Catherine both struggle with their identities throughout the novel and surround themselves with these women in order to maybe pick up some of these characteristics that they wish to have. Maybe by being around Clare and Isabella, although they seem to be “fake” friends, they also have qualities that are desirable for a woman that is questioning who she is. As people we tend to mirror the people we are around, we pick up on characteristics of those we are with most until those characteristics become a part of our personalities as well. This may be what Catherine and Irene are doing. They are questioning their identities and associating with Clare and Isabella give them the insight to a person that has the qualities that they want.
There is a certain amount of jealousy that can be seen in these relationships from both sides. Catherine seems to be jealous of Isabella for her confidence and secured identity, while Isabella seems to be jealous of Catherine as well. Catherine has the qualities of a good friend, she is a genuine person and always tries to see the best in someone. It seems that Catherine envies this as she is continually trying to form real relationships with individuals throughout the novel. Jealousy can also be seen both ways in the relationship between Irene and Clare. Irene envies Clare the same way that