The Pen is in Her Hands


  • Ainsley Gill


In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland "cannot be interested in" the "real solemn history" prescribed by the period's educational expectations for young women, instead finding romances to be far more captivating. Through Catherine’s clear preference for Gothic novels over history, Austen highlights a larger shared experience that women of the time had with traditional history texts and emphasizes the merit of novels as being much more capable of speaking to women’s experiences and interests in order to credit these novels for what they truly were to many -an early form of women’s history.

For additional context, listen to the author's reflection on the piece below.

Author Biography

Ainsley Gill

Ainsley Gill is a member of the Class of 2025 from Houston, Texas. She plans to major in Political Science and Law, History, & Society with a minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies. On campus, she is a College Scholar and a member of the Vanderbilt Debate Team and the Undergraduate Honor Council. She also enjoys writing for the Vanderbilt Political Review and dancing with VU Pointe.

Author's Reflection



How to Cite

Gill, A. (2022). The Pen is in Her Hands. SCAFFOLD: A SHOWCASE OF VANDERBILT FIRST-YEAR WRITING, 4. Retrieved from