Anthem for 9th and 10th Graders Entry Deadline: March 20, 2008

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For 9th and 10th Graders


Entry Deadline:
March 20, 2008

45 FINALISTS: $50 Cash Awards
175 SEMIFINALISTS: $30 Cash Awards

Select ONE of the following three topics:       

1)      Aside from very rare exceptions (Equality, the Saint at the Pyre) there is literally no opposition to the leaders in this society.  Why is this?  What ideas must the average man have accepted to live a life of obedience, drudgery, and fear? 

2)       Prometheus writes: “The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them.” (Chapter 3) Why does he think that the secrets of this earth are not for all men to see? If he thinks this, why does he decide to show his glass box to the World Council of Scholars? How do these issues relate to the theme of the novel?

3)      For each of the following quotations from Anthem, explain in a single, unified essay the quotation’s meaning in the story and its wider significance.

a) “We alone, of the thousands who walk this earth, we alone in this hour are doing a work which has no purpose save that we wish to do it.”  (Chapter 1)

b) “Are we proud of this thread of metal, or of our hands which made it, or is there a line to divide these two?”  (Chapter 5)

c) “Only the glass box in our arms is like a living heart that gives us strength.”  (Chapter 7)


Essays will be judged on both style and content. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of Anthem.

Essay submissions are evaluated in a fair and unbiased four-round judging process. Judges are individually selected by the Ayn Rand Institute based on a demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Ayn Rand’s works. To ensure the anonymity of our participants, essay cover sheets are removed after the first round. Winners’ names are unknown to judges until after essays have been ranked and the contest results finalized.


Contest is open to students worldwide.  Entrant must be in the ninth or tenth grade.

To avoid disqualification, a stapled cover sheet MUST include: your name and address; your e-mail address (if available); the name and address of your high school; topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from list above); your current grade level and (optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay, if you are completing it for classroom credit.

Essay must be no fewer than 600 and no more than 1,200 words in length, and must be typewritten and double-spaced. One entry per student, please.

Essay must be postmarked no later than March 20, 2008. Essay must be solely the work of the entrant.

Decisions of the judges are final.

Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first place winners are not eligible for this contest.

All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned.

Winners, finalists, semifinalists and all other participants will be notified via e-mail and/or by mail by July 26, 2008.

Note: All information necessary to enter the contest is contained on this page. It is not necessary to write for more information.


» Submit your essay online

Or mail your essay with stapled cover sheet to:

Anthem Essay Contest, Dept. W
The Ayn Rand Institute
P.O. Box 57044
Irvine, CA 92619-7044

Please do not submit duplicate Essays!

If you wish to verify our receipt of your essay, please paperclip a stamped, self-addressed postcard to the essay. If you submit your essay online, we will send you an e-mail reply acknowledging receipt of your entry. If you have not received e-mail notification within 24 hours, please e-mail

Comments or questions about the essay contests are welcome. Please write to

In the final rounds of judging, ARI checks essays with Plagiarism Detection Software by Turnitin.

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