Have you ever read one of Ayn Rand’s thought-provoking novels? Now’s the time! Enter an Ayn Rand Institute essay contest and you’ll have a chance to win thousands of dollars in scholarship prize money. ARI has held essay contests on Ayn Rand’s fiction for more than thirty years, awarding over $2 million in total prize money to students around the world! This year we will award more than $30,000 to student winners.
How to Apply
- Contest is open to students worldwide, except where void or prohibited by law.
- Entrant must be in 11th or 12th grade for any part of the school year in which the contest is held. The Ayn Rand Institute 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. Verification of school enrollment will be required for all winning entrants.
SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE TOPICS:
- Describe a situation in your own life when you faced a conflict between doing what you truly thought would advance your own goals in life, and doing what was approved of by society. What do you think Roark would decide to do in such a situation? What would Keating decide? Explain your answers by citing scenes from The Fountainhead. What decision did you make, and how would you compare it to Roark’s and Keating’s likely decisions?
- In an editorial defending Roark, Wynand writes: “It is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed. It is the unsacrificed self that we must respect in man above all.” What does The Fountainhead have to say about what it means to actually have a “self”? Illustrate by giving examples of major and minor characters who are described in ways that suggest that they either have or lack a self.
- The novel opens with the line “Howard Roark laughed.” What things does Roark laugh at in this scene, and in other scenes? Give a few examples from the book. Later in a scene with Keating, Toohey reveals that part of his method is to “kill by laughter.” What things does Toohey laugh at? Give a few examples. What is different about the things Roark and Toohey laugh at? Explain how the contrast reflects wider themes in the novel.
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 philosophical meaning of The Fountainhead.