Know Your Poe? Be the School Hero

Shmoop's Fall 2010 High School Essay Contest

Grand Prize: iPad 3G for you PLUS your entire school* gets a 1 year free Shmoop VIP Pass

Entry Deadline: 11:59pm PST, Oct. 31. Winner announced first week of December

You Win, Everyone Wins

All teachers and students in the Grand Prize winner's school will receive a 1 year free Shmoop VIP pass:


Plus, Win an iPad 3G

The Grand Prize winner will bring home an iPad 3G. (Just for you, not for your entire school. iPads don't grow on trees.)

Ready? Answer this Question in 500 or Fewer Words

The narrator of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" wants us to know that he is not "mad," but can we believe him? In fact, how about the speaker in "The Raven"? He seems a little bit on edge, too, doesn't he? We want you to decide, based on what you read in the poem and the story, whether these men are crazy or not. But we don't just want a snap judgment — this is serious business. Go over these works like a detective, and give us hard evidence. We want you to point to specific moments in the story, and use them to tell us whether these two guys are nuts. Or maybe one of them is and not the other? Or neither of them? If they aren't crazy, what's going on here?

How to Enter

Send your entry as a text, Word, or PDF document to You must include this info in the document:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your age
  • Your grade level
  • School name
  • School City, State, Country
  • School phone number
  • Your English teacher's name

Read our Contest rules for full details

Meet Our Final Round Judge...

Esther Wojcicki

Esther Wojcicki

  • Palo Alto HS
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Grades 9-12
  • English & Journalism


Can younger students enter?

You bet. US equivalent of Grade 12 (High School Senior) and younger are welcome to enter.

Can students outside the US enter?

Yes, indeed! One of our finalists in our Spring 2010 Essay Contest was from jolly old England.

Can anyone give me feedback on my essay?

Nope. You're on your own here. The essay must be 100% your own original work. You may not receive outside help of any kind. That includes no outside proofreading.

Can I use Shmoop to research my essay?

Well, of course! Just make sure to cite Shmoop as a source. See our Learning Guides for:

How should I cite sources?

MLA format.

Does the title count toward the 500 word limit?


Will you confirm that you received my essay?


When will you announce the Grand Prize winner and Finalists?

First week of December. Of course, if we're overrun with entries, we may need to extend that date. We'll update the info on this page if the schedule changes.

* Limitation of School-Wide VIP pass: if you're a homeschool student, you're welcome to enter. We won't, however, be able to make our VIP pass avatilable to a school. If you attend a non-physical school, Shmoop reserves the right to limit VIP pass access to 1,500 students. For physical high schools, we'll roll out the VIP pass to everyone in your school.

Questions or comments? Sound off on our blog