2010 – National 5th Place Award Winner

SherShah Atif, Massachusetts.

Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?

In comparing the strength and effectiveness of the pen and the sword I conclude that the sword is greater in this sense: although words can affect how people think, the sword can have a greater influence on society. Look at today's world. Numerous countries like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and others have succumbed to violence that certain people cause. With violence, life can be held on a balance, and this directly portrays the discrepancy between the pen and the sword. A sword can change the borders of a nation, destroy all aspects of society, and begin new governments and ruling organizations. Throughout history new governments have bloomed, but only after some sort of violent revolutions. Also, the sword has had a longer effect and has been functioning longer than the pen. People did not always know how to read and write- but they knew how to kill. People also figured out how to pressure others into getting what they wanted with overwhelming force before knowing how to convince people through rhetoric. Thus, the sword's impact is society is greater than that of the pen's.
Moreover, look at certain places such as Harlem and Compton. Words do not matter in these places. The sword does. People don't say, they do. Actions speak louder than words and most people have come to acknowledge this fact. As far as we can remember, people have been murdering and using violence to gain advantage over others. It is obvious that these people live by violence and who is to say that this type of society cannot one day speak to non violent areas of the world. People will always be violent and try to impact the world through this method. A good example is the growing influence of terrorists and renegades. They are, after all, humans just like us who have the choice of pen or sword. They choose the sword because they understand that action must be taken, and that initiative is much more effective and thorough through violence.
Don't mistake me, the pen can be of powerful use; but people tend to choose the easier and more attainable method of achieving what they want. As said before, violence is a quick and powerful initiative. If this mindset were somehow understood and practiced by most people, then the pen would no longer matter. However, it is not this way; the US is one example where there are two strong sides to this argument. Some people value words and being able to use reasoning to solve problems and control life. Meanwhile, others believe that violence and action can be just as, if not more, effective and mighty. With growing violence however, the pen is showing itself to not be as strong as the sword. The sword can give and take life, while the pen is limited to wonder, idea, and what "can be". The sword can instill fear through force. I believe that violence can be used to run a government and that it can bring people together. Only if some higher power has an advantage can this be possible. People can rise together and work together to not be punished by the violent government. I believe that both violence and reasoning can be incorporated into a society and that the society can thrive. Overall however, the sword will always have absolute power and dominancy over the pen. In sum, the words that a man may speak or write are no competition for the acts he can inflict upon society.

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