Freshman Studies Office

Summer Reading Essay Contest


Radium Girls is a play by D.W. Gregory which chronicles the story of young dial-painters in a watch factory in Orange, NJ between 1918 and 1928. Gregory’s drama recounts the illnesses that afflicted and sometimes overcame these young girls, as they fought against a corporation which denied any responsibility for the radium poisoning they acquired as a result of their work. Laura Lee Carter’s article, A Glow in the Dark Tragedy provides a historical overview of those events which Gregory has dramatized in Radium Girls.In Act II of Radium Girls, Grace explains to her mother why it’s so important to keep fighting her case against the U.S. Radium Corporation: “All my life, I’ve done what other people told me to do…And I never once questioned. I never once asked! Don’t you see? They knew I wouldn’t. That’s what they were counting on…” (Gregory 98).

Think about the characters from Radium Girls and how they might view the world from a 2014 perspective. For what issues or causes in our contemporary society would Grace and Kathryn fight? To what modern problems would Grace and Kathryn relate? How would they try to help?

Respond in an essay of 2-3 pages, (please use double spacing and 12-point font).  Use evidence from the play to support your point of view.  All quotes from the text must be cited with page numbers.

Entries must be postmarked by August 4, 2014.  All submissions should be attached in Microsoft Word document and emailed to  Winners will be announced at Convocation on August 24, 2014.

Prizes include:

  • 1 First Place Winner will receive a $400 gift card to the SHU bookstore
  • 2 Honorable Mentions will receive a $100 gift card to the SHU bookstore
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Freshman Studies Office
(973) 761-9740
Mooney Hall

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