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John Thorpe, Basic Character Information

John Thorpe is the selfish and boastful older brother of Isabella Thorpe who, in part because he believes her family to be wealthier than it is, wishes to marry Catherine Morland.

Basic Information:

Age: He is described as being young,

Primary Residence: His family is from Putney, but he is currently a student at Oxford.

Family Information:

Parents: John’s mother is the widowed Mrs. Thorpe.
Other Family: John has two brothers and three sisters, and it appears that he is the eldest in the family based on the fact that when his mother was telling Mrs. Allen about her sons, he was listed first.


Physical Characteristics: John Thorpe is a “stout young man of middling height … with a plain face and ungraceful form[.]”

Personality Characteristics: John is a brash and arrogant young man who is given to boasting, exaggeration, and spite. He is described as being “easy where he ought to be civil, and impudent where he might be allowed to be easy.” John’s behavior towards others often shows carelessness and selfishness, such as in his greetings to his mother and sisters upon his arrival in Bath where he informs his mother (who apparently dotes on him) that her hat makes her look like a witch and tells his younger two sisters that they look ugly. In spite of this he is apparently able to make himself agreeable enough to make some male friends including the generally agreeable James Morland who describes him as being “as good–natured a fellow as ever lived;” though “a little of a rattle[.]”

Other Information: John Thorpe is a student at Oxford where he befriended James Morland. As his mother is described as being a not wealthy widow and his deceased father was apparently a small town lawyer, John is presumably preparing for a profession of some sort. Law is likely as it was his father’s profession, and I really can’t see him as a clergyman.

What to call him:

  • John – His mother and sisters.
  • Thorpe – Male friends such as James Morland
  • Mr. Thorpe – Others, including Catherine Morland.


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