Winning Essays for 2012

2012 Essay Topic: Sex, Money and Power in Jane Austen’s Fiction

The 2012 Essay Contest topic aligned with the JASNA Annual General Meeting theme, “Sex, Money and Power in Jane Austen’s Fiction”:

How do sex, money, and power enable characters in Austen’s novels to manipulate each other, and what forms of resistance are there to that manipulation?  Consider no more than two of Austen’s novels or other major works and analyze the modes of manipulation, whether successful or unsuccessful.

High School Division

First Place Winner: Sarah A. Stites, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA
Essay: Manipulation in Austen’s Day: Class and Character
Mentor: Roger Green
Second Place Winner: Navya S. Dasari, Basis Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
Essay: Manipulation: an Effective Vice in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion
Mentor: Ms. Hadley Ruggles
Third Place Winner: Shilpa Kamala Saravanan, A&M Consolidated High School, College Station, TX
Essay: Truths Universally Acknowledged: Jane Austen and Manipulation

College/University Division

First Place Winner: Mary E. Pinkes, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
Essay: Abilities, Affections, and the Art of Pleasing: The Ascent of Lucy Steele and Penelope Clay
Mentor: Constance Myers-Kelly
Second Place Winner: Emily E. Kingman, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Essay: Miss Woodhouse’s Misapplied Sense: Separating Situation from Manipulation in Emma
Mentor: Professor Scott Mellor
Third Place Winner: Brittany A. Hause, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Essay: Elinor’s Duty: Ideology as Groundwork for Manipulation and Resistance in Sense and Sensibility
Mentor: Professor Laurie Kaplan

Graduate Division

First Place Winner: Christina A. Denny, St. John’s University, Queens, NY
Essay: Why “Willoughby”? Resisting the Familiar in Sense and Sensibility
Mentor: Amy King
Second Place Winner: Shannon A. Blatt, University of Dallas, Dallas, TX
Essay: Feminine Manipulation in Sense and Sensibility
Mentor: Dr. Theresa Kenney
Third Place Winner: Lise M. Gaston, Concordia University, Montréal, Canada
Essay: Repaying Her Debt: Mansfield Park’s Economies of Power
Mentor: Robert Miles


Many thanks to all judges of the 2012 Essay Contest.  There were two rounds of judging.  During round one, the judges read all the submissions from students at their judging level and selected the best to go forward to round two.  For round two, the judges read the selected essays at all levels and determined the winners listed above.

Eric Nye, Essay Contest Chair

High School Level

Rosa Beyer, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Jill Kristensen, Shoshoni High School, Shoshoni, Wyoming
Laura Novo, Friends’ Central School, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Undergraduate Level

Heather Ackerman, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Lana Dalley, California State University, Fullerton, California
Ellen Moody, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Graduate Level

Patricia H. Michaelson, University of Texas at Dallas, Texas
Sally Palmer, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota
Mona Scheuermann, Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, Illinois