Academic | Essay Contest
Signet Classics Announces Winners of the 9th Annual Scholarship Essay Contest
New York, NY, June 2005 Signet Classics, the imprint of New American Library devoted for more than 40 years to publishing inexpensive paperback editions of more than 300 of the world's greatest literary works, has announced the winners of the ninth annual Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest. The Grand Prize Winners, listed in alphabetical order, are:
- Jackson Cooper
Jackson is in 11th Grade, Boulder High School, Boulder, CO.
- Jacinta Ghaly
Jacinta is in 11th Grade, Cherokee High School North, Marlton, NJ.
- Kate Korale
Kate is in 11th Grade, Waterford High School, Waterford, CT.
- Albert Li
Albert is in 12th Grade, Huntington High School, Huntington, NY.
- Caroline Esther Rudd
Caroline is in 12th Grade, homeschooled, Noah's Workshop, Weatherford, TX.
Essay Subject: The Prince and the Pauper
Topics for the 2005 Essay Contest:
- What would Edward do if no one believed his story and he was cast back into the street to live as a pauper at the novel's end? To support your answer refer to specific instances in the book that show his character and behavior.
- Despite many difficulties in life, Tom Canty, Edward VI, and Miles Hendon all remain uncorrupted by outside influences. What in their upbringings, natures, and/or life experiences do you think accounts for their fundamental decency? Support your answer byciting specific passages and incidents in the novel.
- In our own day, as in Twain's, England is a parliamentary democracy. Nevertheless, it retains a monarch possessing all the trappings of royalty but no powers in executive, judicial or legal affairs. How do you think Twain feels about continuing this kind of monarchy, where the kings and queens are only figureheads, reminders of British history and its ceremonial traditions? Support your answer with specific reference to scenes in the book.
- Everett Emerson, in the Afterword to the Signet Classics edition of The Prince and the Pauper, quotes Twain: "I have a call to literature of a low orderi.e., humorous. It is nothing to be proud of, but it is my strongest suit." Twain's popularity is still tremendous, and his humor is appreciated by audiences of all ages. Why do you think Twain felt that way? Find examples of his humor in this novel and comment on their effectiveness on you. To what extent do you think humorous writers have been devalued in favor of more serious writers? Explain your answer.
The Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest was establishedin 1996 to encourage greater interest in reading among high school students by offering tangible assistance to the winning students and their schools. It is open to qualifying high school juniors and seniors in the United States. "We are proud to be involved in a unique scholarship program that encourages student appreciation for the great classics," notes Liz Perl, Vice President and Executive Director of Publicity for New American Library.
Entrants are required to submit a 2-3 page double-spaced, typewritten essay, answering one of four questions relating to the designated competition book. Essays must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the themes in the book; clear, concise writing; and logical, well-supported arguments. Judges also consider style, content, grammar and originality. Five Grand Prize Winners are each awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a Signet Classics Library for their school (or local public library, in the case of home-schooled students), valued at $1,800.
The designated title for 2004-2005 was The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. The book selected for the 2005-2006 Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest is Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya.
For more information on the current Signet Classics Essay Contest, click here.
Entry forms and full information about the contest will also be available in high school English departments, or by writing to:
Penguin Group (USA)
Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
New American Library is a division of Penguin Group (USA), part of Pearson Plc, the international media group, and includes the imprints Signet, Signet Classics, Onyx, Roc and NAL Trade Paperbacks.
For more information, please contact
Carolyn Birbiglia, Penguin Group (USA) Publicist, at 212-366-2203.