Winning Essays for 2005

2005 Essay Topic: Jane Austen’s Letters in Fact and Fiction

The publication of the definitive edition of Jane Austen’s Letters (Oxford University Press, 1997), edited by Deirdre Le Faye, has led to a renewed interest in Austen’s correspondence, which represents both autobiography and sparkling entertainment and was written with the wry humor and narrative voice found in the novels.  Students were asked to address one of the two questions below:

  1. How does the style or the content of Austen’s own correspondence help you understand her better as an author of fiction?
  2. From the epistolary juvenilia and Lady Susan through Persuasion, letters appear in abundance and assume pivotal roles.  In your essay, examine the role of letters in Jane Austen’s fiction.

High School Division

First Prize Winner: Laura R. Rowe, Renton, WA
Essay: Beyond Drawing-Room Conversation: Letters in Pride and Prejudice
Mentor: Shirley Rowe, mother
Second Prize Winner: Valeria A. Tsygankova, Cheltenham High School, Wyncote, PA
Essay: Characterization, Communication, and Control: Letters in Pride and Prejudice
Mentor: Dr. Oxana Tsygankova, mother
Third Prize Winner (tie): Amanda R. Hopkins, New Providence High School, New Providence, NJ
Essay: “I shall depend on hearing from you very often”: The Significance of Letters in Pride and Prejudice
Mentor: Dr. Colleen Hennessey, Honors British Literature teacher,
and: Anna T. Nutter, St. John’s High School, Houston, TX
Essay: Pride and Prejudice by Post
Mentor: Mrs. Carol George, English teacher

College/University Division

First Prize Winner: Jackie F. Mijares, California State University, Fullerton, CA
Essay: The Masculine Pen: Character and Correspondence in Pride and Prejudice
Mentor: Dr. Susan Jacobsen, Associate Professor of English, California State University, Fullerton
Second Prize Winner: Rebecca N. Arenivar, College of St. Catherine, Hastings, MN
Essay: Letters, Character, and Conduct in Sense and Sensibility
Mentor: Geri Chavis, Professor of English, College of St. Catherine
Third Prize Winner: Maggie E. Fromm, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA
Essay: Liminal Letters: Writing Between the Spaces in Emma
Mentor: Professor Audrey Bilger, Claremont McKenna College

Graduate Division

First Prize Winner: Rebecca H. Starkins, Oxford University, Brookfield, CT
Essay: “The Perfect Happiness of the Union”: Emma and National Ordination
Mentor: John Lemly, English Professor, Mount Holyoke College
Second Prize Winner: Price W. Grisham, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Essex, MA
Essay: Epistles from a Changing Parish
Mentor: Dr. Garth Rosell, Professor of Church History, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Third Prize Winner (tie): Jessica Lynice Hooten, University of Dallas, Bedford, TX
Essay: Austen’s Final Heroine: How Jane Austen’s Letters Reveal Her as a Heroine
Mentor: Dr. Theresa Kenney, Professor, University of Dallas,
and: Sarah Ailwood, University of Wollongong, Braddon, Australia
Essay: Critiquing Private and Public Masculinity: Austen’s Correspondence with James Stanier Clarke and Mansfield Park
Mentor: Dr. Anne Collett, English Convenor, University of Wollongong