Academic | Essay Contest
Announcing the 17th Annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest
With an unbeatable lineup of over 300 of the greatest literary works the world has ever known, Signet Classics is the publisher that students, education professionals and the public turn to more than any other. Now, we are proud to host our seventeenth annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest, in which five high school juniors or seniors can each win a $1,000 scholarship award to be used toward their higher education plus a Signet Classics library for their school! Essays must be submitted by a high school English teacher on behalf of students who write an essay on one of six topics for this year's competition book, 1984, by George Orwell.
1984, by George Orwell
Select one of the following five topics:
- Erich Fromm, in the "Afterword" in the Signet Classic edition of 1984, states:
"George Orwell's 1984 is the expression of a mood, and it is a warning. The mood it expresses is that of near despair about the future of man, and the warning is that unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their most human qualities, will become soulless automatons and will not even be aware of it." (p. 313)What specifically is the warning about? Cite examples from the book that highlight Fromm's concerns.
- In 1984 the Party is able to generate enthusiasm for war, no matter the enemy or the local conditions. What methods does it use to build support for war and how do the citizens respond? What does this suggest about human behavior?
- How is Julia characterized? In what ways is she different from Winston? What are her major interests and concerns? Why is she willing to rebel against the Party?
- One of the most frightening aspects of 1984 is "Newspeak," the systematic deterioration of language as a medium of truth, e.g. "War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery." Why do the people in the novel accept these so-called truths? How are they used as tools to manipulate opinion and reinforce the total dominance of the state? Can you find examples in our own day of the corruption of language as a dependable reflection of reality?
- Would Winston have been better off not challenging the party and keeping his rebellious thoughts to himself in order to preserve his personal safety and dignity? In the face of totalitarian rule, is it better to dissent in silence and close one's eyes to atrocities and excesses in order to survive? Is there any way he might have succeeded in challenging the party? Explain your point of view using Winston and Julia's experiences.
- Some of the surveillance technologies that appear in 1984 are now realities that we take for granted, such as closed circuit television cameras and GPS devices. Discuss the use of technology to control public and private behavior in 1984 and in the present. What limits do you think should be placed on the use of technology to avoid the kind of totalitarian excesses represented in 1984?
Official Rules for 17th Annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest
No purchase necessary. A purchase will not enhance your opportunity to win.
Open to 11th and 12th grade full-time matriculated students who are attending high schools located in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, or home-schooled students between the ages of 16-18 who are residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia.
How to Enter
- Matriculated students: Four (4) copies of the essay must be mailed by an English teacher on behalf of the student (each English teacher may submit only one junior and one senior essay), along with a cover letter on school letterhead that includes the following details:
- Student's full name, grade, address, e-mail and home telephone number
- Name of high school
- Name, email and daytime telephone number of English teacher submitting essay (please include summer contact information if different from school year contact information)
- Name, e-mail and daytime telephone number of the school's administration officer
- Topic selected (#1, #2, #3, #4 #5 or #6)
- Certification by teacher that the essay is the student's original work
- Home-schooled students: Four (4) copies of the essay must be mailed by a parent or legal guardian on behalf of the student, along with a cover letter on the parent/legal guardian's letterhead that certifies that the student is home-schooled and that includes the following details:
- Student's full name, address, e-mail and home telephone number
- Student's equivalent grade
- Name and daytime telephone number and e-mail of the sponsoring parent/legal guardian
- Topic selected (#1, #2, #3, #4 ,#5 or #6)
- Certification by sponsoring parent/legal guardian of home-schooled student that the essay is the student's original work
- Essays must be at least two and no more than three double-spaced pages, computer or typewritten. Please include four (4) copies (including the cover letter) of each essay submitted. Entries must be mailed to Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Academic Marketing Department, Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest #17, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. To be eligible, all entries must be postmarked by April 15, 2013 and received on or by April 22, 2013. Submissions by fax, email or any other electronic means will not be considered.
- Entries will not be returned. By entering the Contest, contestants agree to abide by these rules, and represent and warrant that the entries are their own and original creations, and do not violate or infringe the rights, including, without limitation, copyrights, trademark rights or rights of publicity/privacy, of any third party.
- Entries are void if they are in whole or in part illegible, incomplete, damaged or handwritten. No responsibility is assumed for late, lost, damaged, incomplete, illegible, postage due or misdirected mail entries.
All eligible entries received will be judged by a qualified panel of judges chosen by Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and winners will be selected on or about June 15, 2013. Winning essays must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the themes and issues presented in 1984 by George Orwell. Submissions will be judged on style, content, grammar and originality. Judges will look for clear, concise writing that is original, articulate, logically organized and well supported. Winners will be notified by June 22, 2013 via telephone or email, and will be announced online on or about July 2, 2013.
There are five (5) prizes available to be won. Each prize includes a check in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) to be used toward winner's tuition and/or expenses related to their higher education. Each prize also includes a Signet Classics Library for the winner's school library, or public library in the case of a home-schooled winner (Approximate Retail Value ("ARV") = $1,600.00). Total ARV per prize = $2,600.00.
In the event that there is an insufficient number of qualified entries or if the judges determine in their absolute discretion that no or too few entries meet the quality standards established to award the prizes, Sponsor reserves the right not to award the prizes.
- Open to 11th and 12th grade full-time matriculated students who are attending high schools located in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, or home-schooled students between the ages of 16-18 who are residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia. Void where prohibited by law. All state and local restrictions apply.
- Employees of Sponsor and its parent company, subsidiaries, affiliates or other parties in any way involved in the development, production or distribution of this Contest, as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, children) and household members of each such employee are not eligible to participate in this Contest.
- No cash substitution, transfer or assignment of prizes allowed. In the event of the unavailability of a prize or prizes, Sponsor may substitute a prize or prizes of equal or greater value.
- All expenses, including taxes (if any), on receipt and use of prizes are the sole responsibility of the winners.
- Winners may be required to execute an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release. The affidavit must be returned within fourteen (14) days of notification or another winner will be selected. If a winner is under 18 years of age, their parent/legal guardian will also be required to sign the Affidavit. Because the ARV exceeds $600.00, winners shall be required to provide a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to Sponsor for issuance of a 1099 Form. The winner's school library or public library in the case of a home-schooled winner that will receive a Signet Classics Library shall also be required to provide a Federal Tax Identification Number to Sponsor for issuance of a 1099 form, in connection with its receipt of this portion of the prize.
- By accepting a prize, winners grant to Sponsor the right to edit, publish, copy, display and otherwise use their entries in connection with this Contest, and to further use their names, likenesses, and biographical information in advertising and promotional materials, without further compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law.
- By participating in the Contest and/or accepting a prize, contestants release Sponsor, its parent, subsidiary and affiliated companies, authors whose books are promoted hereby or the agencies of any of them, from any liability, injury, damages, cost or expense, including reasonable attorney's fees, arising out of or connected to participation in this Contest or the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prizes.
- Any dispute arising from this Contest will be determined according to the laws of the State of New York, without reference to its conflict of law principles, and the entrants consent to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in New York County and agree that such courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all such disputes.
For a copy of the winners list, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope by December 15, 2013 to Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Academic Marketing Department, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014, Attention: Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest #17, or check online after July 2, 2013.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Academic Marketing Department
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
The title for the 18th Annual Signet Classics Essay Contest will be Beowulf translated by Burton Raffel. Essay topics will be posted on our website after July 2013.