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WC: Penguin Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest

Topic:  Write an essay on Of Mice and Men.  Select one of the five topics:

  1. Given George and Lennie’s complex relationship, explain what keeps them together. What does each offer the other?
  2. Will George continue to dream of having a home of his own and “living off the fat of the land” after Lennie’s death? Was this dream ever realistic, with or without Lennie?
  3. Explain the factors that lead to George killing Lennie. Did George have any other choice? Defend your point of view.
  4. Describe Slim’s role in the community of the ranch. What sets him apart from the others? At the end of the novel, why does he alone understand what George has done?
  5. Contrast the relationship of Curly and his wife to that of George and Lennie. Why do both relationships end so tragically?

Eligibility:  Freshman and Sophomores


Matriculated students: Four (4) copies of the essay should be mailed by an English teacher on behalf of the student (each English teacher may submit only one freshman and one sophomore essay). Each of the four (4) copies of the essay should include a cover letter on school letterhead and the following details:

  • Date
  • Student’s full name, grade, address, e-mail and home telephone number
  • Name of high school
  • Name, email and daytime telephone number of English teacher submitting essay (please include summer contact information if different from school year contact information)
  • Name, e-mail and daytime telephone number of the school’s administration officer
  • Topic selected (#1, #2, #3, #4 or #5)
  • Certification by teacher that the essay is the student’s original work.

Essays submitted without a cover letter on school letterhead or cover letters that do not include the above details will be disqualified.

Essays submitted without a cover letter on parent/legal guardian’s letterhead or cover letters that do not include the above details will be disqualified.

Essays must be at least two and no more than three double-spaced pages, computer or typewritten (please do not staple submissions). Please include four (4) copies (including four (4) cover letters) of each essay submitted.

Entries will not be returned. By entering the Contest, contestants agree to abide by these rules, and represent and warrant that the entries are their own and original creations, and do not violate or infringe the rights, including, without limitation, copyrights, trademark rights or rights of publicity/privacy, of any third party.

Entries are void if they are in whole or in part illegible, incomplete, damaged or handwritten. No responsibility is assumed for late, lost, damaged, incomplete, illegible, postage due or misdirected mail entries.

See Mrs. Taylor in the Writing Center for cover letter template.


There are five (5) prizes available to be won. Each prize includes a check in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) to be used toward winner’s tuition and/or expenses related to their higher education. Each prize also includes a selection of Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions for the winner’s school library, or public library in the case of a home-schooled winner.

Visit the Penguin Classic website for additional information

Deadline:  Entries must be postmarked by April 28, 2018 and received by Penguin May 5, 2018