2010 – National 4th Place Award Winner

Kristin Hurst, Arkansas.

Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?

Even in the beginning of time, humans were gullible creatures. When the serpent told Adam and Eve that the forbidden fruit would make them see as God, they took the bait. If Satan would have been upfront about the side effects, I think the couple would have chucked the apple back in his face. It is in our nature to be trusting wanting to believe whatever makes us happy.

Happy lies often come in the form of the printed word: newspapers, magazines, books and the internet. These slippery words do much more damage to us than brute force; if confronted with an army, we rally our forces and fight back. Propaganda infiltrates our minds, and we follow it until the yellow bricks road of typed falsehood runs out, and we find ourselves walled up brought down by own credulousness and the willingness of others to deceive.

Benito Mussolini took over a whole county with a printing press. He used his political genius, flowery words, and a whole lot of false promises to worm his way into power Fascist Italy in 1922. He hung on to his rule for over twenty years, using the same fraudulent methods. Hitler accomplished a similar feat in Germany, while arranging the homicide of almost six million Jews all across Europe. The similarities here are both countries freedoms of press were nonexistent. Had the leaders tried to take over with an army, they would have never made it into office, much less had the people's support. The power of words is an amazing and devastating one.

When it comes to religion, people are very…excitable. Today and all throughour history, wars have been waged over the subject. It's amazing how willing, even enthusiastic, people can be to lay down their life for God or a god. Blindly, they follow written words in the Bible, the Koran or whatever text their religion is based on, on faith alone. Imagine what would come from tampering with one of those books? Lives of millions would be changed, blood would spill, and wars would threaten to swallow whole countries… all from a few altered words.

The influence words have over the human race is immense. Just as power can be used for good, words can also be used for great evil. Swords are feared, but a pen disregarded can reach farther, and can wreak far more devastation than any military force known to man.


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