The Might of the Pen

May 7, 2013
By Liesie BRONZE, Mundelein, Illinois
Liesie BRONZE, Mundelein, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

When a pen is placed into an inspired writer’s hands, words tend to flow out of the pen like a river onto the dry paper. Many writers, like Liesel from Markus Zusak’s book, The Book Thief, write words and phrases with meaning and depth. From these words, one can easily be impacted stronger than any other physical force. I’ve learned from experience of the impact after reading The Book Thief and many other books that made an impression on me. Although to some the pen may seem weak, when it writes, it’s much more powerful than the sword.
There are many people who believe that the sword is stronger than a pen due to the violence it can bring. These people also tend to agree with using war as a solution to most problems between countries. They don’t realize that words can solve most of these problems if they’re used in the correct way. Through many examples in history, words can be more beneficial to one than violence. It’s seen in the Declaration of Independence and Martin Luther King’s speeches and both lead to freedom or equality to certain people. Within the Delcaration of Independence, it states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Because of these words, everyone in America is treated equally and receives equal treatment. With diplomacy, one can solve many problems that could have resulted in violence and can possibly create a bond with the other. An example of how violence isn’t beneficial is shown in another piece of literature called Homestuck. On page 4478, a vicious character named Vriska mind controls another into killing his girlfriend, resulting in a larger conflict between the two. If words were used and they had talked out their differences and reached an agreement instead of violence, the two could have avoided the argument and could have possibly become friends. Even though the sword is seen as a more powerful object, the pen is stronger.
Though the blade of a sword can leave a physical marking upon one’s body, the words a pen writes can leave a permanent mark on a person’s soul. In my life, there have been many times when I’ve heard stories about people who were cut, punched, or even shot and they came out of the battle like nothing happened, just another story to tell their friends. For example, my friend, Zacharie, had once broken his nose and soon after laughed about it like his wound was a scene from a funny movie. I’ve also heard of stories where people have been in fights and came out of them with rivers flowing down their eyes and large frowns accompanying them. I’ve heard of people who took weeks or even months to recover from these words said by another and how they still become wildly upset when the topic is brought up years after the fight. "Blood leaked from her nose and licked at her lips. Her eyes had blackened. Cuts had opened up and a series of wounds were rising to the surface of her skin. All from words. From Liesel's words,” (Zusak 253). The quote from The Book Thief shows the effects brought upon the mayor’s wife after Liesel’s fight with her. Before Liesel even knew Ilsa Hermann, the mayor’s wife, Ilsa had a son who had passed away due to a horrific accident. During this scene, Liesel yelled at Ilsa, with no form of pity, about how she needed to get over the fact that he son was dead. The words Liesel chose triggered Ilsa and made her grow extremely upset, which shows how just the few words that left Liesel’s mouth could affect a person in such a way. Although words can be very powerful, many people underestimate them.

When shown a pen and a sword and asked which is stronger, one normally points towards the sword without a single thought. People tend to think of the sword as stronger without considering the potential of the pen. They don’t know of how much words have changed history and how they brought either destruction or peace to many citizens. Within The Book Thief, the author shows the reader how he understands the concept. “The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing.” (Zusak 521). The quote shows how without Hitler’s words, he wouldn’t have gained the control he had back then. Without the words Hitler used, he wouldn’t have been the man we know him as today, an insane leader with powerful diplomatic skills. Many people underestimate the potential of the pen and tend to turn to alternative solutions instead of using its power.
To many, the sword may appear to be more powerful, but the pen is what holds most of the strength. The words produced by the pen can have a powerful impact, resulting in either good or bad actions. Through many pieces of literature, one can better understand how violence, or the sword, isn’t the answer to every conflict and how words, or the pen, will have a better outcome if used properly. There are many wise men and women who also believe in this concept; among the group is Liesel. From Liesel’s words, one can be easily impacted due to her love of words and understanding of their power. She, along with most other writers, knows of this power and urges to show others the sword isn’t the only method to reach peace and agreement. “I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right," (Zusak 528).

The author's comments:
This piece tries to explain the importance of words and how they're stronger than the pen.

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