2014 Maroon Edition Essay Contest

All MSU undergraduate students are invited to submit an essay based on Sarah Thebarge’s memoir The Invisible Girls, the 2014 Maroon Edition book selection.  Prizes will be awarded in two categories: freshmen and upper-classmen.  Winners in each category will receive the following awards credited to their MSU accounts:

1st Place          $500
2nd Place        $300
3rd Place         $100

Your essay must discuss ONE of these topics:

  1. As the title suggests, The Invisible Girls is a book about people who are unseen or unnoticed. What does the book suggest causes people to become invisible? Who becomes invisible and why? What barriers prevent individuals from being seen by others? Your essay should address the representation of characters in the book, but it also should go beyond them to consider the implications of Thebarge’s book for others in society who go unseen.

  3. Thebarge indicates that some people in our society are invisible, but to whom are they invisible? Put another way, what assumptions does the book or Thebarge herself make about who gets to determine whether a person or persons are invisible? Why does it matter who has such power? Is it possible or desirable to challenge that authority?

  5. The Invisible Girls celebrates service to others as a benefit, not just to the people being served but also to the person performing service. What are the benefits of service that Thebarge experiences in her own life? Can you think of any areas on the MSU campus or in your community where her example of service might be applied?

  7. The Invisible Girls provides many opportunities for thinking about beginnings, endings, and the relationship between them. Under what circumstances, according to the book, might endings be beneficial? Are fresh starts always desirable? What, if anything, is lost in starting over? Your essay should attempt to make a comprehensive claim about the book’s treatment of beginnings and endings..

In the essay, offer your own ideas and arguments, but be sure to use quotations and specific examples from the book to illustrate and support your points.
Submission Requirements:  Essays should be 1000 words, maximum.  Format your essay double-spaced with 1-inch margins and in Times New Roman, 12-point font.  Center your essay title on the first page.  Do not put you name on the body of the paper; include a cover sheet with the following information:  name, NetID, telephone number, and contest classification (freshmen or upper-classman).

On your cover sheet, please provide the MSU Honor Code: “As a Mississippi State University student, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times.  I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.” 

Submit your essay by midnight on November 7, 2014 to essaycontest@msstate.edu as an attached Microsoft Word document. 

We do not learn for school, but for life. -- Seneca