Essay Contests for Middle school students

For Teachers & Students

In an effort to increase the level of high school participation at The Dickens Universe, The Dickens Project is proud to announce its Ninth Annual High School Student Scholarship Essay Contest, in which up to two high school students and their teachers can win a scholarship to study Dickens amid the redwoods. Students enter the contest by submitting an essay following the guidelines described below. The winning students and teachers will attend the 2014 Dickens Universe (August 3 - 9) with all expenses paid. (Paid expenses include conference registration as well as food and lodging for six nights.) A travel stipend of $150 in-state, or $300 out-of-state, is also included for each student and teacher.

The winning essay(s) will be published on The Dickens Project website, and circulated at the 2014 Dickens Universe for discussion by the conference's many enthusiastic participants.

Congratulations to our 2014 winners:

  • Karen Molina from Los Angeles, CA
  • Kenia Coyoy from Los Angeles, CA
  • Lia Miranda from Kent, WA
  • Sophie Nasrallah from Lutherville, MD

ESSAY TOPIC

Charles Dickens is considered by many to be the preeminent author of the Victorian era, not simply because he was so prolific in his writing, but also because he lived through, experienced, and wrote about many of the issues that came to define that era. From early works like Oliver Twist (1839) to middle works like A Christmas Carol (1843), and on through later works like A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1865), Dickens chronicled the tragedies and triumphs of his day. In Dickens you can read about everything from poverty, illiteracy, crime, and prison conditions, to religious hypocrisy, the inequality between the classes, flaws in the legal system, the power of the industrial revolution, and the nature of domestic relationships (both good and bad).

In an essay of 3 - 5 pages in length, respond to a single Dickens novel by analyzing any topic or theme of the book.

While the essay topic can be anything of your own choosing, the essay must have a strong thesis, and you must argue that thesis from the beginning of the essay to its conclusion. Additionally, the essay must include accurate and detailed references to the novel you choose, in support of your thesis.

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