Fountainhead High School Essay Contest
ELIGIBILTY AND PRIZES
Open to all 11th and 12th grade students worldwide.
Top Prize: $5,000; Second Prizes (3): $1,000; Third Prizes (5): $500
SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE TOPICS
A) 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?
B) 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.
C) 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.
RULES AND CRITERIA
A) Students are permitted to submit one entry per year.
B) Essays must be 800-1600 words in length and written in English only.
C) Essays must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.
D) 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.
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