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Announcing the 18th Annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest

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Beowulf 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, Beowulf.

Essay Subject

Beowulf

Topics

Select one of the following six topics:

  1. In the introduction to the Signet Classics edition of Beowulf, Burton Raffel writes: "Most attractive to us, of all the many-sided excellences of Beowulf, is the poet's insight into people." Cite examples of this.
  2. Why is boasting important in Beowulf? Are the listeners expected to consider these tales of personal achievement as factual truth? How else might this style of discourse serve to express the values of the society? How does this oratory style relate to the behavior we expect from contemporary public figures?
  3. We see Beowulf at both the beginning and the end of his life: first as a vital, physically imposing young warrior and later as a frail old man near death. What qualities does he display in each of these two, distinct life stages that reveal him as a great king and leader? Choose two or three incidents from the narrative to illustrate your point.
  4. What significance—literary, spiritual, social, psychological—do you subscribe to the popularity of monsters in literature and film? Why are we fascinated by stories about deformed, violent, or malevolent figures who wreak havoc on human life? In Beowulf, what makes Grendel and his mother particularly troubling and "monstrous" to the close-knit warrior society they attack?
  5. How do the three monsters—Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon—differ from one another? You may want to consider their physical characteristics and capabilities, where they live, their methods of attack, the nature of their battles with Beowulf, and their motives. Do you find one creature more abhorrent than the others? Why?
  6. Describe the ways in which the sea and its inhabitants are portrayed in Beowulf. What do these descriptions tell you about the role of the sea in the lives of the Anglo-Saxons? What do they suggest about the Anglo-Saxon view of the natural world and the universe in general?

Official Rules for 18th 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

  1. 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:
    • Date
    • 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
    Essays submitted without a cover letter on school letterhead or cover letters that do not include the above details will be disqualified.
  2. 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:
    • Date
    • 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 submitted without a cover letter on parent/legal guardian's letterhead or cover letters that do not include the above details will be disqualified.
  3. Essays must be at least two and no more than three double-spaced pages, computer or typewritten (please do not staple submissions). 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 #18, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. To be eligible, all entries must be postmarked by April 14, 2014 and received on or by April 21, 2014. Submissions by fax, email or any other electronic means will not be considered.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Judging

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 16, 2014. Winning essays must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the themes and issues presented in Beowulf. 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 24th, 2014 via email, and will be announced online on or about July 1st, 2014.

Prizes

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.

Eligibility

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

General

  1. 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.
  2. All expenses, including taxes (if any), on receipt and use of prizes are the sole responsibility of the winners.
  3. 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 21 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.
  4. By accepting a prize, the winners and their parents and/or legal guardians 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.
  5. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. By competing in this Contest and/or accepting a prize, entrants release Sponsor, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies, or the agencies of any of them and the authors and/or editors of any books promoted hereby from any and all liability for any loss harm, injuries, damages, cost or expenses arising out of or relating to participation in this Contest or the acceptance, use or misuse of the prize(s). UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL THE RELEASED PARTIES BE LIABLE FOR INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS' FEES, OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES.
  6. 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.

Winners List

For a copy of the winners list, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope by December 16, 2014 to Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Academic Marketing Department, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014, Attention: Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest #18, or check online after July 1st, 2014.

Sponsor

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Academic Marketing Department
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014


Pygmalion and My Fair Lady by George Bernard Shawl

 

The title for the 19th Annual Signet Classics Essay Contest will be Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, by George Bernard Shaw. Essay topics will be posted on our website after July 2013.

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