2017 – 5th Grade National 2nd Place Winner

Theodore Spear, Pennsylvania.

The Pen and the Sword: Is Either Mightier?

Let’s consider the question, “Is the pen mightier than the sword?” I immediately feel that the pen is the mightier one, but I will investigate this question from a neutral point of view.

If someone was trying to kill you, would you want a pen or a sword to defend you? When the police show up to defend us from violent attackers, do we want them to have pens or guns In these situations, I would want a weapon to defend against violence. Unfortunately, when someone else has already chosen violence, the pen may not have any power, and we may need the sword if we are to survive. But if we recognize the humanity of the attacker, we should always ask ourselves: Why did this situation arise? What led this person to choose violence? Wouldn’t we rather that we didn’t have to defend ourselves in the first place? Is there anything we can do to prevent similar choices in the future? Maybe we can make laws and establish programs that help prevent the causes of violence. And we do THOSE things with pens! So the pen CAN BE mightier than the sword, even if it isn’t always.

The crux of the question is the word “mightier.” This word is very different than “better.” If the question asked “Is the pen better than the sword?”, it would be easy for me to conclude that the pen is better. But when considering might, the sword is truly very mighty. Some historical figures have killed millions of people. It is hard to even imagine that scale of loss of life. However, we should also consider some of the great thinkers and writers of the world, such as Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Gandhi and many others. Their texts and historical records of their works have influenced billions of people and continue to do so. It’s impossible to use only violence. But you can use only communication!

The power of the sword dies with the one wielding it. The power of the pen can live on for millennia. So ultimately the pen both can be and is mightier than the sword!


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