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Rae Yan

Pugs in Art

Teaching Notes


"Pugs in Art" was first presented at the Jane Austen Summer Program of 2016, entitled "Mansfield Park and Its Afterlives." Rae Yan explores the symbolic meanings and historical popularity of the pug, the constant companion of Lady Maria Bertram throughout Mansfield Park.

Discussion Questions 

1. According to Markman Ellis, lapdogs of 18th-century literature frequently “emblematize the malevolent, spiteful, and hypocritical quality of their family owners, who demonstrate an ‘unfeeling’ nature.” Read over passages about Lady Bertram and Pug from Ch II, Ch VIII, Ch. XIX, and Ch. XXXIII, and think over other instances where Pug is not mentioned, but Lady Bertram is.

  • Does Lady Bertram personify the “malevolent, spiteful, and hypocritical” 18th-century lapdog-owner?

  • How does she treat her pug and how invested in her pug is she truly?

"Pugs in Art" handout 
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