2006 — 8th Grade 2nd Place

Katie Burns, Florida

Fear is more powerful than hope. It has more faces and ways of being. People communicate through fear. The way in which it can be molded into anything and everything is amazing. Fear can be the driving force behind good and bad things. Is ignorance really bliss, or fear in disguise?

We learn fear and about it at a very young age. There is a fear of our mothers leaving our side when we are infants. There is a fear of new things when we enter grade school. There is a fear of certain situations in adulthood. It is human nature to be fearful of things. Though it may not seem like it, we are afraid of so many things that society makes out to be bad.

Fear can morph into so many different feelings: anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. Underneath these hard-shelled emotions, is fear. Fear has the power to make you cower with anxiety, or hold your head up and hurt others. Fear is the main driver of bigotry and racism. Racism is just the ignorance and fear of the unknown. For years, people have thought of themselves as fearless, but that's impossible. Everyone is afraid of something, even the bravest of us.

Hope is something that is harder to grasp. It's more elusive, and you have to work at it. It brings no action, just expectations. You can sit around, dream and hope all day, but in the end, it's the doing of the dream or fulfilling that hope that will bring you accomplishment. Hope is something that you have to want to have, while fear comes naturally. Fear is an emotion that is innate.

Fear can apply itself to odd or reasonable things. A phobia could lead a person to live his life around a fear. That fear is so powerful, that a person, despite being in a society that is very complicated, will actively work to avoid that one rational or irrational fear of his. There have been whole periods of time where people feared particular things, and that held them back. Fear has held so many people back. It has the power to put a shield up, and cover your mouth. It has the power to choke you on the very words in your throat. It has the power to stop you from doing what is right or what is needed in a situation.

Mankind continues to live in fear. Although we run from it, so often, it finds us, and knows our hiding places. Fear is the monster that grows inside of us. It starts in the pit of your stomach, then radiates to your whole body. It has the power to grow into large, and unwanted things. Though fear is considered bad, we need it in our lives to have prudence, and think about things. Dorothy Thompson once said, "Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." If this is true, do we as humans ever live?

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