The (Mis)Education of Harriet Smith: Confidence, Perception, and Character Development in Emma [JASNA 2016 Essay Contest Winner]

“I know – I’ll write my essay proving this scholarly article wrong.” Apparently JASNA thought this was a great idea.

JASNA hosts a competitive essay contest every year, calling for essays based on Jane Austen all over North America. After failing to place once before, I was proud to finally place in 2016.

This essay would be judged by Jane Austen scholars and had to stand out amongst the many other competitors who were writing in response to the same prompt. In order to distinguish myself from the crowd, I decided to write not about the main character, Emma, but by her often-overlooked friend, Harriet. By applying a theory that many were familiar with in regards to Emma, I was able to create an original theory proving that Harriet is worth more examination than she’s given. I was happy to earn 3rd place in the JASNA 2016 Essay Contest’s graduate division and recognition from JASNA in their media.


You can read my essay here and see the rest of the winners here.