2006 — 8th Grade 5th Place

Jiyoung Kim, Illinois

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."-Eleanor Roosevelt. The inexplicable fear that consumes people's minds through their own personal horrors is one of the strongest and most prominent things in their life. It pushes them, challenges them, and makes them realize the truth. Hope, on the other hand, provides false expectations that only lead to a depressing fall that crushes all the faith that had been instilled in it. Fear remains a mysterious idea to ponder about and it is evident that its strengths are unparalleled. Even history promotes the idea that this fright is dominant and remains an intense belief even now.

The cold, lurching dread that lives primarily in the minds of people drowns them within their own fears. Fear means to be filled with a cold terror that hovers right above a person's head. It means to feel a quiet discomfort, just from hearing one word or seeing one image. In the end, there are several things that make this a force to be reckoned with, such as the way fear makes a person try to defeat that challenge while pushing people to become stronger beings. When challenged with fear, a person will work harder to try and make the outcome turn the opposite direction. The panic within him ignites the fire that makes a person push their limits. It is a match and the kerosene is the dread that steadily snakes toward the person in fear. One strike of the match and the person will try their hardest to get away and stop the flames from licking at their feet. Fear is the ultimate challenge made especially for each individual, and it never stops existing. It's the goal that nobody can reach, but everybody tries to achieve. It never dies and it's never fully gone. This is fear.

Even in the past, fear has shown its true strength time and time again. In the annals of history, it has played a large role in molding what society would become and what actions a country would take. For example, slavery was an idea based on the fear of pain and anguish that grew steadily. This apprehension pushed slaves to work as hard as they could and at the same time pushed them to get away from these burdens. Hey knew that if they stopped working, they would be punished horribly, but if they all tried to fight it, they could get away from these terrors. In the past, fears have made people take drastic measures to try and change the things that happened and it worked because the power pushing them from behind was the strongest kind available. Primitive tribes used to pick a leader based on how frightening he was. They chose a person because of how much fear he could instill in another, but that same fear could eventually impel the tribesmen to start rebelling against him. This powerful aspect of the past is still playing a crucial part in the present and future as well.

Now, as society has advanced further to a more reasonable state, it is still undeniably fear that continues to make its way as a central part of society. September 11 spurred tremendous terror deep within the hearts of millions and forced the government to try and improve the security of America's people/ this kind of distress propelled people into a need for constant security and made it even safer, despite the gripping dread that engulfed them. Fear urges people to avoid having to encounter something that will inevitable harm a person, such as anthrax or the more recent bird flu, both of which have been studied relentlessly in attempts to stop it in its tracks. People will go to great lengths to insure that they are not struck with anything fatal, some even going as far to wear surgical masks when outdoors. Fear is powerful in the fact that it can make a person bend to something that didn’t seem possible before. It pushes people to increase their fortitude through the mental torrent that pushes their limits further back than ever. It works to increase the possibilities of a society and plays an important role in the community. Fear is perhaps the most powerful feeling that humans can experience, and for a good reason too.

It makes people stronger, it makes people test themselves, and that is what fear is. Its constant air of mystery continues to defy the parameters set up for it. Fear has made large contributions to the past and present and will continue to do so for the future. The strength of fear cannot be measured. It remains one of the most potent emotions that a person can feel. Fear continues to make the world go around in surprising turns and has helped mold this society into what it is now. The strength of fear is beyond compare and people must begin to realize that their fears are their enemies and at the same time, their strongest weapons.

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