2010 – 7th Grade 2nd Place Winner

Teddy Corrigan, New York

Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?

Sticks and Stones

Philosophers have written for centuries about the creation of a peaceful and civilized society. None have succeeded in bringing such a society into existence, since the sword’s power over the pen is irrefutable. Violence is an existing element in society because of its effectiveness. it instills fear. It teaches important lessons. Its impact lingers for as long as the pain and loss can be remembered. The sword has a more profound consequence than the pen because it can strike from three angles rather than two. Like the pen, it affects people emotionally and psychologically, but it also inflicts physical wounds. Words can stir emotions and cause anger to flair, but one always has the freedom to turn away from them without dire consequences.

History has shown that violent wars have solved some of the world’s most complicated problems. People and nations often fail to communicate effectively with words, and instead communicate through force. The fear of pain is a powerful incentive, so much so that people have been willing to give away their valuables, including even their loved ones, to avoid it. The wielder of the sword possesses power over life and death, and that is why violence will always speak louder than words.

Violence is a language; a conversation of force. One speaks and the other replies. This chain reaction of physical communication is not ideal, but sometimes necessary to sustain order. People and regions are forced to respond to violence with its duplicate or are compelled to submit. There is no mightier response to violence than a more potent counterattack of physical force. President Obama alluded to this when he recently spoke of war during his acceptance of the Nobel Peace prize. He discussed the unfortunate necessity of war in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect our nation against violent terrorist acts. President Obama declared that violence is appropriate “if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense.”

Implementation of the sword has been intertwined with cultures and political agendas for thousands of years. Use of the sword has an indelible voice and a lasting impact. It is, for better or worse, the ultimate manner of might by which conflicts can be resolved. Escaping the sword’s wrath is only possible with a sword of your own.

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