More Jane Austen Parody!

Megan Millette

Austen Parody Assignment

My parody focuses on the tale of a young heroine named Katheryn Morlan who is enthralled by her latest reading of the novel Twilight. It is set in present day where she enjoys the noise of the mall while doing her reading. She meets a hero along the way named Hank who helps to show her that history is more than she could even imagine, allowing her to see that all can enjoy it not just men. He also enjoys reading much like herself and fuels her mind enough so to make her believe in creatures that do not exist. She is also trapped at the mall with the dreaded arrogant Jonathan who cannot stop talking even if she begs him to, which she would never do out of politeness. However, the one day she is able to escape him she encounters a man who also turns out to be the villain in her story which is Hank’s army-trained father who is strict and orderly. However, the house to Katheryn is not what it seems as she mixes reality with the simple pleasures of her latest novel. She can’t help but think things are not what they seem. This is what leads to disapproval and an ending where she is left to walk alone until her hero, Hank, steps in to save the day.

My intent with this piece is to show one a way in which the reader can relate personally to the character of Catherine in Jane Austen’s novel, Northanger Abbey. By setting it in present day and using a novel that is very popular in this time frame the reader is able to relate on a more personal level to these imitations of moments in Austen’s novel. They are able to put a fan fiction into the realm with that of the novel getting a clearer, and possibly better, understanding of where Catherine’s character is coming from. Though some believe that Catherine is naïve and childish when she is making up her own stories and scenarios, through my parody I hope one sees how the build up and discussions one has prior help lead one to making up his or her own stories. As one watches a scary movie or feels an eerie sense in a situation, they are apt to imagine things at times because our mind plays tricks on us when we are overly emotional. An overly emotional state can make us see things that aren’t actually there. My heroine Katheryn feels these same emotions after Hank has playfully joked around with her allowing her mind to wander. When the strange sights and sounds are presented, her emotions take over allowing her to imagine something that may not be there. This is my intent to make Austen’s piece more relatable to the reader through a present day imitation of it to show the reader that this is not a foolish story about a girl who makes up what she wants to see but something that occurs throughout life to anyone when emotion takes over. Austen references Radcliffe’s story, which takes place further in the past much like I relate my parody to Austen’s novel showing how it can go from Radcliffe’s time to present day. When terror and emotion take over you never know how one might handle the situation.

It has many qualities that make it a parody of Austen’s original novel such as similar character names though not exactly the same. In Austen’s Northanger Abbey there is Henry Tilney, John Thorpe, and Catherine Morland. In my parody there are the characters Hank Tillnie, Jonathan Thorne, and Katheryn Morlan. However, it is not only the names that are an imitation of her characters, but also the traits I introduce for my characters resemble those in Austen’s piece.  I have imitated some scenes from Austen’s novel. Though I may have altered them a little, they still remain somewhat similar to Austen’s own novel. I have also made sure some of the conflicts were similar but modernized, such as my choice in the popular book the heroine reads. These are the ways in which I took Austen’s piece and imitated it to show a playful rendition of her own work while adding a few differences to set it apart. This is done to entertain the readers so they can enjoy the witty remarks and relate them more closely to the work of Jane Austen. Parodies are meant to tell a story but also entertain the audience because the audience is able to see how it is relatable and similar to the piece it is imitating. It also acts as an innocent mockery of the original to make it easier to understand. Overall, a parody is meant to allow the audience the ability to enjoy the references to the original text while also seeing how it is different in terms. This parody is meant to be an imitation of some key scenes of Austen’s novel, Northanger Abbey, while also allowing the reader to see a play with the present day and the book Twilight.

Katheryn and Vampirism

There she sits content in her own world: this girl, Katheryn Morlan; is our heroine. She is not your typical heroine instead being very plain and ordinary. Katheryn is average and a bit lanky. She has yet to discover herself. She spends her days at a table in the mall with her nose in the latest book-of-choice, Twilight: a teen romance about forbidden love between a vampire and an average girl she can relate to. She enjoys the crowd passing by but more so the pages of this novel that consume her thoughts.

However, with a clash and clang her eyes are able to glance up from the page long enough to see the boy glistening in the crowd by a bag of items that were now scattered across the floor. She was brought back to reality long enough to gaze at Hank Tillnie along with the many others around the mall who left their selfish trance of Saturday shopping to stare at where the noise had disturbed their mundane routine. Hank was a tall figure with a bright look in his eye. He was in her history class and was a very intelligent guy whose fascination with history is something Katheryn wished she could say about herself. Her assumption is that his love for history is only natural of all men because it is their subject of choice according to Katheryn. As he appears closer moving past her table, Katheryn allows his name to slip from her lips “Hank.”

He turns and smiles in her direction. “Hi, Katheryn.”

“You know my name?” Yes, she is the heroine, which should entitle her to some moments of clichéd surprise response. She does focus much of her life on the books she can’t help but place herself in.

“I would hope so since you sit next to me in history and we were in many of the same classes last semester. Let’s hope my response didn’t ruin your diary entry of me considering it did not come out as mystifying and charming as I intended.” A slight playful smile formed.

“Oh, don’t worry, I don’t have a diary. I am pretty sure most girls our age have given up those.”

“Now, don’t be ashamed. I know it is geeky, but I understand that all girls no matter what time they are from keep a diary. Secretly, I am sure Bella Swan even had a diary that may not have been mentioned in the novel.” He nodded in the direction of the book still in Katheryn’s grasp. “It probably wasn’t broadcasted throughout the novel because the reader is not expected to read about how Bella had pages plastered with Mrs. Bella Cullen and hearts. Those pages would just make it all the more predictable then her just pondering about why Edward was never there anymore. Don’t worry, your secret diary is a safe topic with me. I promise no one will find out its existence and that I am the stranger from history class who knows you exist and am geeky enough to know about your reading choice.”

“Again, no diary. Also I am surprised you know this book. Guys are not normally into reading and novels especially.”

“Well, some guys enjoy novels and the excitement of what is to come, which leads them to an enjoyment of reading. I think people who complain about reading and novels are ignorant and don’t deserve an opinion.”

“Interesting.”

            “How interesting? As interesting as history class was last week.”

“I hope you are joking because I never really understand that class much. Maybe it is because it is a man’s subject of choice.”

“Well that’s a lie, since History is exciting to all if we all just look at it as an adventure waiting to unfold. As we discover it our eyes are slowly opened to the secrets that have potential to be fact or fiction. There is no dull moment if you give history the opportunity to share its story with you like you allow novels to do.” Once again he nods toward the book in Katheryn’s hand.

“It is dull because of the way writers write. There is such a dry storyline to follow, and the idea that some aspects are either fact or fiction makes it seem unreliable.”

“Only to the untrained is it unreliable. Half the fun in the hunt for fact and fiction is that it leads the reader on a journey to discover more.”

“Well then maybe you should teach me how I can be as passionate as you when it comes to history because I have not yet discovered that joy.”

“I’d love to! You could come over sometime and we could work on our history projects together, so I can show you that there is excitement in even history.”

“When is this going to happen?” Katheryn, our heroine, tries to sound inquisitive, but comes across as overly excited as any girl would who relies on characters to show her how to act around others.

At that moment a phone call captured his attention and he left with, “I’ll be in touch as long as this all doesn’t wind up in your diary, promise?”

“Promise,” left Katheryn’s lips whether or not he heard it as he was almost out of sight.

***

            Our heroine, Katheryn, spent the next few days trying her best to sit and watch for Hank but being herself she would wind up doing less searching and more reading. She would look out for him until she was engulfed in her story so much so that she lost track of time. That was until a shadow lingered over her long enough one day to force her to take her gaze off the page she was on to be graced with the image of Jonathan Thorne. Luckily for her, she was honored with the presence of an arrogant, pig-headed guy who beamed confidence with his puffed out chest and rather straight stance. Jonathan, though he beamed confidence, remained to leave passersbies with the question of why he had such confidence. He was a plain guy and of medium height. He wasn’t overly tall but not very small either just simply average. He was stout:  just pudgy enough to fit his medium form and fill it out a little extra. Katheryn was lucky enough to find herself next to him when he sat down beside her, though she questioned if she could call it sitting when he dropped into the chair with a thud. Nevertheless, he was in the seat beside her and wasted no time striking up a conversation with her on a topic she didn’t catch. She had no idea what was happening. When she realized she was not getting away from him there was a slight eye roll before she smiled and nodded at what was being said.

She was stuck with him gracing her presence for three more days before she ran into Hank again. She was happy to see him though he was hesitant to bug her and her present company. Hank made his way to the table and asked her if the next day she could come over to work on history projects like they had discussed before. He explained how his family had to go away for a few days over break to visit relatives, but that he was still interested in working on history. Katheryn naturally agreed and Hank left with the glare of Jonathan on the back of his head.

Jonathan continued his discussion about leading the football team to another victory and how he did not know where they would be without him. He told her how he was the top player, and Katheryn, being too nice, just smiled and continued to nod her head politely.

The next day could not come sooner as she sat waiting for Hank to arrive. However, instead of Hank, Jonathan returned and began begging her to go watch his game. He said how he doubted Hank would be there if he wasn’t already waiting for her when she arrived. As she grabbed her bag to follow Jonathan, Hank turned the corner. She left Jonathan but not without him grabbing her arm and trying to drag her along with him. Katheryn, being the polite girl she was, did not rip her arm free but merely slipped it out of his grip and told him some other time she would be fine with going but not today.

Katheryn met up with Hank and followed him as he led the way to his house. As they walked, Hank decided to strike up conversation by asking about Twilight and how the novel was coming along for Katheryn. She concluded that she had almost finished and loved every second of it. The novel was adventurous and full of a romance for the sappy love fans out there. “Could you imagine a world where one falls in love with a vampire and he is nothing like history makes him out to be? He is far from vicious and cares more than most choosing not to drink human blood. Could you imagine living where you have no idea whether the people across the street or down the road are vampires, and you would have no idea?”

“Yes, according to Twilight you must watch out because anyone could be a vampire. For all you know I might be a vampire leading you to a house full of vampires, but you wouldn’t have to worry because like the vampires of the day we only feed on blood bags or animal blood. Could you imagine where we could put all that blood? It is interesting though how they blend in so well with the crowd but if we all blend in so nicely I may as well be a vampire.” He laughed at the thought hoping Katheryn would enjoy his humor with the novel and not take offense to his jokes.

Katheryn’s laugh was more held back. Though Hank did not notice, it was a weary laugh. It was a laugh almost as if she were contemplating the ideas he had suggested but he assumed she had appreciated his joke and went on. “Imagine where my father was like the Cullen father so sweet and friendly, but if some blood was shed who would ever know how he or the rest of my family could react. It is interesting how their family works and their house is so far outside town if a true vampire wanted to blend why not lose the house of glass and move into some suburb perhaps.” As he said this he stopped in front of a two story colonial that resembled a few on his street. It was almost as if they were their own little suburban street with similar houses. Katheryn’s mind began to wonder what may be hiding in these matching houses.

They entered the kitchen where he offered her something to eat and drink. She happily accepted a glass of lemonade he gave her but could not help but notice his lack of drink. A few minutes later he brought out some cookies but once again as she helped herself to a few he sat not interested in the food. Katheryn thought how Edward and his siblings sat at lunch their food laid out in front of them never touched, and she turned to Hank. Heart beating, she stared so intensely that she thought she saw the red in his eyes like those of the characters in the book.

There was a rustling noise downstairs almost as if they were hiding something or someone in their basement. He glanced at the clock and said, “Excuse me for a moment I have to do some chores.” He went to the end of the hall and opened up the door to the cellar. She couldn’t help but take a peek and when she did directly down the stairs was a giant freezer with a huge bolt lock on it. She imagined Hank opening it to reveal to her many bags of blood, which his family enjoyed for dinner. She heard the clank and clatter of what sounded like a cage and she imagined an unruly family member in need of some blood especially fresh blood. As her mind wandered to Hank asking her to follow him down there to see a boy on a leash jumping at her as if she were his next meal, she heard him making his way back towards the steps and quickly went to sit back down at the table. However, he still caught her gaze and the horrified look and tried to show his weary smile. He sat down beside her. “So what did you see? You look like you saw a ghost coming out of my basement.”

“No, it is just you have a huge freezer with a bolt on it.”

“Yeah it is full of meat. My dad likes to hunt.”

An image of dead animals flashed into Katheryn’s brain as she thought that of course they were like the Cullens and drank only animal blood.

“What are you thinking? You have a look of disgust.”

“Is there something or someone else down there?”

“Yes, we are dog sitting my oldest brother’s dog, but my dad has strict rules about keeping him in the kennel. His army ways made him a bit of a neat freak and he is very stubborn in those ways.”

Oh of course a dog would make sense. She had heard a bark but did not associate it at the time because she was so fear-ridden, she thought to herself not realizing that Hank was staring at her quizzically. “So the animal meat…”

“Is butchered meat like you would get at the store steaks and hamburger. My dad has a friend who is a butcher and cuts up his game from hunting season. We store it down there.”

“Oh that makes so much more sense than my thoughts.” The end slipped out even though she meant for it to be only in her head.

“And what did you think?”

“I just thought that like in Twilight and the way you were talking on our walk here how we would never know who is a vampire…”

“And you thought I was one and my house was like the Cullens’. Sorry to tell you this Katheryn but Twilight is just a book and in reality those creatures do not exist. I thought you understood that and was joking with you. I had no idea you took me seriously.” He laughed and his laugh seemed like he was mocking our poor heroine who now felt out of place and stupid.

“Can I use your bathroom?” She tried to hold back the embarrassment but her voice was still a bit shaky.

“Yeah, it is down that hall second door on the left. Don’t worry you will not stumble across our coffins if you find the wrong room.”

His final comment made the tears stream down her face. When she reached the bathroom Katheryn shut the door and sat there crying for a moment. She thought to herself how could she be so stupid to let a book creep its way into reality. No matter how real the story may feel it was never going to be a real story and she was certainly not the Bella to Hank’s Edward in the least bit. She composed herself expecting Hank would ask her to leave offended that she would think of him as an awful creature. However, when she reached the table he was sitting there book open ready to start on their history.

“Hey, feeling any better? Let’s get started on the history assignment. We could look at the myth of vampirism for part of the project and its progression over time if that would be of interest?” He was being nice as if she did not make a fool out of herself in front of him just minutes before. She sat beside him as they plotted out possible project ideas and he worked at opening her mind up to the idea that history could be exciting.

When his father arrived home he was very friendly and even offered for her to stay for dinner. Katheryn was excited at his approval. He asked them nicely to move to the living room and she was more than happy to since he needed to set the table for dinner. As she picked up her bag Twilight fell to the floor. Hank’s father looked at the book and scowled. “I am not a fan of mythologies about demons and monsters. I have this strange feeling that you are not the type of girl I want to see my children around if you are interested in this nonsense. I am a practical man and Hank knows how I feel about that.” Hank’s father gave Katheryn a look of pure hatred. He then asked to talk to Hank alone. Afterward, Hank said he wanted her to leave for dinner. Hank told her to wait there a second he had to go take care of his brother’s dog first.

While Hank was gone, his father noticed her sitting in the living room and asked her to leave saying she was no longer welcome. She did not understand how a man one second so nice could be so mean the next but left just the same. As she walked down the dark road while night time was setting in early because of the season, she knew she had a long walk ahead of her to the other side of town. She wished she could have seen Hank again to thank him for the great afternoon but she did not understand why he did not stand up for her. She didn’t know why he left her at the end. She walked down the dimly lit road telling herself she would not be afraid walking home. A group of boys passed by her hooting and hollering and she got an image of them coming toward her. She imagined that like Bella in the story these men were going to attack her, but instead of in an alley way they would do it on this quiet street. She had to catch herself and remind herself of what Hank had said about it being just a book and told herself she would not let it get the best of her. She had tears streaming down her face hurt by his father’s change in attitude. He hadn’t given her the chance for him to get to know her and sent her on her own not even offering her a ride home. At that moment a car passed her then slowed to a stop and reversed in her direction. The lights blurred her vision and she thought she was in serious trouble now. Katheryn then realized much to her surprise that Hank was in the driver’s seats of the car.

“Get in and I will give you a ride. I want to make sure you get home safe. Sorry for my dad. He is overprotective and has a tendency to overreact all the time.” Katheryn got into the car and Hank drove off into the night. Naturally, only in this story can the heroine get a little piece of her book turn into reality.

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