In thinking about my disastrous relationship with the sociopath, I am creeped out by all the ways he was able to seamlessly lie and manipulate me. As I was re-reading Northanger Abbey, I began to really notice that Henry Tiley has every opportunity to take advantage of Catherine. But he doesn’t. Because he is a model man.
First of all, Tilney believes that “excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes”. And that, in a time where women were not allowed to vote, and looked upon as second class citizens, is sexy. Tilney is able to see the good qualities in women. I am sure the sociopath noticed my good qualities. I am kind, trusting, and loyal. Yet, the sociopath took advantage of that while Tilney does not. Yes, I stupidly believed he was working one hour late. Yes, I stupidly believed that he was at his friends house the weekend he was in a hotel with a girl. Yes, I stupidly believed he had a degree, and money, and he would inherit his grandmother’s house. Yes. I believed this. Henry Tilney could take advantage of Catherine’s youth and innocence, but he doesn’t; he has honor.
In addition, Tilney takes an interest in women. He knows gowns and he often helps his sister pick out gowns. This is not a traditionally masculine job, yet he does not hesitate to discuss fabric and prices. Gosh, I couldn’t even get the sociopath to read The Great Gatsby because it is a novel I love to teach. It is 180 pages for goodness sakes! I wasn’t asking him to read Gone with the Wind! In fact, I couldn’t get him to take an interest in anything other than sports. He wouldn’t even be my date to prom (as a chaperone). As Tilney says “The person, be it a gentleman or lady, who has not the pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” I really should have listened to Tilney’s advice right there!
In short, Tilney, is funny, kind, takes an interest in women, believes that women are equals, and likes to read. I think I may be in love with Henry Tilney. Does such a man exist in the modern world???
My next adventure will be Emma. Read it with me if you’d like and stay tuned!