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2003 Essay Contest

Winning Entries


Topic: The Importance of Home and Family in Jane Austen’s Life and Works

In all of Jane Austen’s fiction, home and family play a significant though complex role, sometimes providing nurture, sometimes (even simultaneously) a sense of constriction. Explore the importance of home and/or family in Austen’s novels or juvenilia. Possible angles might include:

  • How Austen uses siblings to further plot, character development, and theme;
  • How the needs of courting couples might conflict with the demands of their families;
  • Austen’s response to the images of home and family portrayed by other writers; or
  • Her representation of vexed social, economic, legal, or political issues through her images of home and family.

NOTE: Only first-place essays were published online prior to 2012.

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