Anthem Essay Contest - Ayn Rand Institute

About this Award: 

There are now two Anthem contests, for two sets of grade levels. One contest for grades 8, 9 and 10, and one contest for grades 11 & 12. Essays will be judged on whether the student is able to argue for and justify his or her view-not on whether the Institute agrees with the view the student expresses.


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.



$2,000 - 1st place (1 winner)

$250 - 2nd place (3 winners)

$100 - 3rd place (5 winners)

$50 - Finalist prizes (25 awards)

$25 - Semi-Finalist prizes (50 awards)


Number of Awards Available: 




April 27, 2023


Region of Study: 



Level of Study: 

Junior high; Middle school; High school


Eligibility : 

No application is required. Contest is open to students worldwide, except where void or prohibited by law. Essays must be written in English only.

Entrant must be in the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade at the time of the current contest deadline. ARI reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule, on a case-by-case basis, for international students or for students with nonstandard school years.


Essay Required?: 



Essay Details: 

Select one of three topics:

1. Ayn Rand once said that chapters XI and XII of Anthem contain the real anthem of the story. Consider several different definitions of the word “anthem” and then explain why you think Ayn Rand called the book “Anthem.” In what sense do you think chapters XI and XII (or the book as a whole) is an anthem? How does the book’s title relate to the themes and message of the story? Explain your answer.

2. For the following statement from Anthem, explain its role in the story, its relation to the themes and message of the story, and its relevance to your own life: “Indeed you are happy,” they answered. “How else can men be when they live for their brothers?”

3. Equality 7-2521 has committed some of the worst crimes there are in his society. If those crimes are discovered, he faces the risk of terrible punishment. Yet in the face of this danger, and despite how much Equality has suffered at the hands of his society, he resolves to bring his invention (and admit his crimes) to the World Council of Scholars. What motivates him to come forward? What does he hope to achieve? If you were Equality’s friend (like International 4-8818) or the person who loves him (like Liberty 5-3000), what would you want him to do, and why? What do you think would be right for him to do, and why?


Essay must be no fewer than 600 and no more than 1,200 words in length, double-spaced. Spelling errors and/or written corrections (by anyone) found on the essay will count against the final grade and should be omitted before submission.

One entry per student per contest.


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