High school student essay contest - archive of winning essays

2018, Essays on Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit
Neighborhood Academic Initiative, Los Angeles, CA

  • Sabina Mendoza, "I Protest: An Analysis of Frederick Dorrit's Agency in Dickens's Little Dorrit"
  • Andrew Oropeza, "Broken Sounds: Mr. Dorrit's Interrupted Speech in Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit"
  • Jasmin Sanchez, "A Humble Love: Class and Feelings in Dickens's Little Dorrit"
  • Keyrin Velasquez, "Running to No Avail: A Comparison of Mr. Dorrit and Mr. Merdle in Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit"
  • Angie Veliz, "Penetrable Impenetrability: The Statue-like Mrs. Clennam in Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit"
  • Alyssa Young, "To Rave About Amy: The Big Outbursts About Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit"


2017, Essays on George Eliot's Middlemarch
Neighborhood Academic Initiative, Los Angeles, CA 

  • Jessica Hernandez, "Sympathetic Visions Woven Together: Dorthea's Noble Nature in Middlemarch"
  • Natalie Montenegro, "The Innovation of a Quest: A Scene of Sympathy in George Eliot's Middlemarch"
  • Karla Paredes, "The United States of Middlemarch: The Case of the Townspeople vs. Bulstrode"
  • Millie Sanchez, "The Awaited Encounter: Dorthea's Transformative Sympathy in George Eliot's Middlemarch"
  • Fatima Saravia, "Revelation as Success: Dorthea's Crisis in George Eliot's Middlemarch"
  • Hunter Wilkinson, "The Misconceptions of a Marriage: Rosamond and Lydgate's Marital Crisis in George Eliot's Middlemarch"
  • Oswerd Xol, "The Apparent vs. the Authentic Quest: The Scene of Rosamond's Crisis in George Eliot's Middlemarch"
  • Honorable Mention: Gabriel Juarez, "Dorthea's Vocation: Close Reading a Scene of Empathy"
  • Honorable Mention: Vanessa Zelaya, "Through Deceived Eyes: Reading the Scratches of Dorthea's Complex Life"

2016, Essays on Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son
Neighborhood Academic Initiative, Los Angeles, CA

  • Georgia Delgado, "Saving the Father: Empathy, Critique and the Victorian Patriarchy in Dombey and Son"
  • Mauricio Garcia, "Ebb and Flow: Water, Loss and the Human in Dickens' Dombey and Son"
  • Amber Johnston, "Mobile Poperties: Feminizing Movement in Dombey and Son, Examining How Reversals in Mobility Reflect Changing Gender Norms"
  • Kimberly Mejia, "(Un)Happy Homes: Disrupting the Domestic in Dombey and Son"

2015, Essays on Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit and American Notes
Neighborhood Academic Initiative, Los Angeles, CA



  • Kenia Coyoy (Los Angeles, CA), "What Lies Beneath the Dust: The Duality of Deception in Our Mutual Friend"
  • Karen Molina (Los Angeles, CA), "British Independence, Rather Perverted: The Problematic Independence of Betty Higden in Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend"


  • Emma Brodey (Chapel Hill, NC), "Birds and Cages in Bleak House"


  • Natalie Kopp (Westerville, OH), "Monsters Most Dreadful: Institutions in A Tale of Two Cities"
  • Abigail Wilkinson (Herndon, VA), "'A Far Better Thing': The Heroism of A Tale of Two Cities' Syndey Carton"


  • Rita Zevallos (Springfield, VA), "The Chimes: A Story of Hope"
  • Teresa Lewandowski (Gaithersburg, MD), "Social Criticism in Bleak House"


  • Molly Van Doren (Andover, MA), "The Price of Education in Charles Dickens's Hard Times"
  • Katie Knowles (Andover, MA), "Hard Times's James Harthouse — Harbinger of Dreams"


  • Ben Gittelson (Atlanta, GA), "Great Expectations: Pip's Moral Journey as a Message for America"
  • Larissa Walder (Madison, WI), "Conscious Change" (Great Expectations)


  • Ruth Li (Logan, UT), "Pip's Forward Thinking: Dickens' Message of Moral Progression" (Great Expectations)
  • Grace Lin (Fremont, CA), "The Power of Reformation" (A Christmas Carol)


  • Sarah Bufkin (Atlanta, GA), "Charles Dickens: In His Time and in Ours" (A Tale of Two Cities)
  • Wendy Graver-Dowd (San Ramon, CA), "Disunity in Diversity: Dickens as a guide to today's social contrasts" (Great Expectations)


  • Sam Greene (Claremont, CA), "Pointing Ever Upwards: Dickens' Novels as a Guide to Good Living" (David Copperfield)