One thing I think is interesting about Catherine from Northanger Abbey is that she actually looks for the dark side of people. She looks for the hunted castles and the morbid secrets that might lurk at Northanger Abbey. Yes, she takes things too far, but she ultimately does what I wish I would have done: look past the glitz and glamour to see the true “man behind the curtain.”
I think that we all want to see the good in people. I know with my ex-boyfriend, I wanted to see the best in him. I saw him only through rose colored glasses and I didn’t see the true him. But that’s because he is a sociopath and he showed me what I wanted to see. He lied seamlessly and he hid his dark secrets from me, or when I did see his dark secrets, he lied and reassured me I was imagining things. I wish I could have been a little like Catherine and at least tried to see through his darkness. At least then, maybe I would have saved myself a little bit of pain. Catherine is not wrong in thinking that bad things happen, because they unfortunately do. While Catherine might have gone too far in thinking General Tilney murdered his wife, he in fact “acted neither honourably no feelingly–neither as a gentleman nor as a parent” (161). And thus Catherine is not completely wrong in seeing his dark side. While he didn’t murder his wife, he treated Catherine very poorly by throwing her out of his house without so much as a chaperone to take her home. Something very horrible could have truly happened to her because of that. And Catherine is not foolish for thinking so.
Like Catherine, I wish I would have seen more of the sociopath’s dark side. For four years I let him manipulate me and then, when the truth of his double life came out, it was so overwhelming and shocking that I am not sure I will ever recover. Sociopaths are good at what they do. They are good at making you believe what they want you to believe. And they are good at tearing your heart out and pretending it is your fault. So I do not think that Catherine Morland is foolish to look at the possible dangers in the world and to think the worst in people because there is danger in the world and some people really are unfortunately, really bad people.