Winning Essays for 2014

2014 Essay Topic: Silence in Mansfield Park

The 2014 Essay Contest topic aligned with the JASNA Annual General Meeting theme, “Mansfield Park in Montréal: Contexts, Conventions and Controversies”:

Consider the role of silence in Mansfield Park.  Sometimes silence is chosen, sometimes it is forced, and sometimes it just happens.  The number of times the narrator remarks that people say nothing is quite surprising, yet the narrator too is silent on important points.  And sometimes only the narrator fills the silence on equally important points, especially about Fanny.  What do we learn from the silences of Mansfield Park?

High School Division

First Place Winner: Emma M. Brodey, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, NC
Essay: “‘The Luxury of Silence’: Breaking the Bewitchment of Charm in Mansfield Park.”
Mentor: Inger Brodey
Second Place Winner: Lucille Q. Riddell, Home School, Livingston, TX
Essay: “‘Let Us Have the Luxury of Silence’: Silence and Communication in Mansfield Park.”
Mentor: Tracey Riddell
Third Place Winner: Deborah J. Longenecker, Barr wa Bahar Homeschool Academy, Salwa, Kuwait
Essay: “Fanny, the Enigma: Two Levels of Love, Two of Silence, and Two of Penetration.”
Mentor: Ruth Longenecker

College/University Division

First Place Winner: Mary E. Pinkes, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
Essay: “The Solution of Silence: The Character of Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park.”
Mentor: Constance Myers-Kelly
Second Place Winner: Victoria M. Barry, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Essay: “Personal Voice and Transformation in Mansfield Park.”
Mentor: Molly Rothenberg
Third Place Winner: Melissa Hite, Harding University, Searcy, AR
Essay: “‘Safer to Say Nothing’: The Defensive Silences of Mansfield Park.”

Graduate Division

First Place Winner: Amanda N. Styron, Chapman University, Orange, CA
Essay: “Silence Speaks: Refracted Subversion in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.”
Mentor: Lynda Hall
Second Place Winner: Virlana M. Shchuka, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Essay: “The Unidentified Bridesmaid: The Narrator’s and Fanny’s Silences in Mansfield Park.”
Mentor: Deidre Lynch
Third Place Winner: Jennifer B. Howard, Chapman University, Orange, CA
Essay: “‘ . . . easy manners, excellent spirits, a large acquaintance, and a great deal to say’: Eloquence, Artfulness, and Actors in Mansfield Park.”
Mentor: Lynda Hall

Honorable Mention

Click here to see a list of the essays awarded “honorable mention.”


Many thanks to all judges of the 2014 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 Division

Courtney Carlisle, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Jessica Connolly, Trinity College, Dublin
Kathryn E. Davis, University of Dallas, Texas
Susan Durst, Boise Public Schools (retired), Boise, Idaho
Norah Glickstein, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
Kimberly Hughes, Peace Lutheran Academy, Sussex, Wisconsin
William G. Lesso, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Jillian Miller, Shoshoni High School, Shoshoni, Wyoming
Laura Novo, Friends Central School, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
Susan M. Simpson, Albany County Public Library (retired), Laramie, Wyoming
Lisa Tyler, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio
Judith Umbach, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

College/University Division

Rosa Beyer, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Elvira Casal, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Margarita R. Levin, Stern College, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
Jeanne Talbot, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California
Karen S. Tipper, Nichols College, Dudley, Massachusetts
Susan Weisgrau, Akiba Hebrew Academy (retired), Merion Station, Pennsylvania

Graduate Division

Heather Ackerman, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Patricia H. Michaelson, University of Texas at Dallas, Texas
Ellen Moody, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Brian Michael Norton, California State University, Fullerton, Californiaz
Sally Palmer, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota
Kathleen Urda, Bronx Community College, CUNY, New York