Students were asked to address one of the following questions.
Jane Austen portrays some characters, such as Fanny Price in Mansfield Park, as distinctly “reserved.” What function does this personality trait have in one or more novels? For example, is reserve a virtue, a source of power, a plot device? Are reserved characters portrayed more positively than vivacious ones in Mansfield Park and/or other Austen works?
Competition is arguably a central theme in Mansfield Park and other Austen novels. How do characters compete for one or two of the following: attention, admiration, affection, familial importance, social status, reputation, personal satisfaction, power?
NOTE: Only first-place essays were published online prior to 2012.
The Jane Austen Society of North America is dedicated to the enjoyment and appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing. JASNA is a nonprofit organization, staffed by volunteers, whose mission is to foster among the widest number of readers the study, appreciation, and understanding of Jane Austen’s works, her life, and her genius. We have over 5,000 members of all ages and from diverse walks of life. Although most live in the United States or Canada, we also have members in more than a dozen other countries.