Anthem Essay Contest


Entry Deadline


Top Prize


Prizes Available

Grades 8-12


Welcome to your student dashboard for this year’s contest!

Here you can start a new application for the contest, view any of your existing saved or submitted entries, and even request a free copy of Anthem if you don’t already have access to the book. Questions? Simply write to us at We’re here to help!

Our Grading Criteria

Essays are judged on whether the student is able to justify and argue for his or her view—not on whether the Institute agrees with the view the student expresses. Our graders look for writing that is clear, articulate, and logically organized. Essays should stay on topic, address all parts of the selected prompt, and interrelate the ideas and events in the novel. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of Anthem.

Available Essay Topics

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.

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?”

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?

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