Oral Presentation: Speech with Integrated Material Essay Example

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Oral Presentation: ‘Response to Fear’

The great French General, Napoleon Bonaparte once said ‘There are only two forces that unite men; fear and interest.’ The wise quote shows how fear plays a critical role in our life in the society. Fear occurs when we face what is perceived to be a threat to the peace of mind. Over the years, the presence of fear has shaped the behaviour of the people through eliciting different responses. The major responses to fear include the fight, flight and freeze strategies. This has thus influenced the interaction between people of the same culture as well as people of different cultures.

One of the most common responses to fear is the fight-or-flight response. An individual who is faced with a perceived threat will attempt to overcome the thing that is causing the fear. Alternatively, the person can choose to flee from the source of fear. In the poem, East Coker T.S Eliot examines the impact of fear on an individual.

‘In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls

Across the open field, leaving the deep lane

Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,

Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,

And the deep lane insists on the direction

Into the village, in the electric heat

Hypnotized. In a warm haze the sultry light…’

The poem illustrates the presence of fear in the human mind and how it is programmed. The mind allows a person to fear certain events and objects. According to the poem, fear makes the mind to perceive things differently thus shaping the relationship between an individual and an action. For example, when a pedestrian sees a vehicle that has lost control, the first instinct will be to flee the area so as to avoid being hit by the vehicle. Hence the fear of death and injury causes the pedestrian to flee. Flight is, therefore, a critical response to fear. Our minds trigger the body so as to react differently depending on the situation that has triggered the fear.

Moreover, another prominent response to fear is fight. Individuals who encounter fear can try to combat the fear with the aim of eliminating the source of the fear. For example, an individual who fears people of other culture can oppose the co-existence of such people amongst them. Homophobic individuals will argue that they should be isolated from individuals of other cultures. Due to the presence of fear, such people can adopt ways to ensure that the source of the fear is eliminated. According to the diaries of Minne Vautrin, ‘The Undaunted Women of Nanking: The War Time Diaries of Minne Vautrin, the author writes that;

‘‘The Japanese have looted widely yesterday and today, have destroyed schools, killed citizens, and raped women. One thousand disarmed Chinese soldiers, whom the International Committee hoped to save, were taken from them and by this time are probably shot or bayoneted.’’

This diary shows the level of cultural intolerance that existed during the second world war due to fear. The Japanese people feared the Chinese since they believed that the latter could conquer their country. Through fear, the Japanese started fighting the innocent Chinese so as to eliminate the source of the fear. Fear can also cause isolation and withdrawal from the major cultural group. Homophobia, the fear of people of other cultures has brought a great impact on the lives of the people in the contemporary society. Individuals of foreign cultures, such as immigrants from Asia and Africa, are treated as outcasts in Australia.

This scenario has caused isolation and withdrawal among the foreigners and the local majority. For example, most immigrants tend to live in residential areas that are isolated from others. This is due to stigmatisation that occurs in the society. People are fear individuals from other cultures since they believe that learning a new culture can erode their fundamental cultural practices (Kruglanski APA). Homophobia has hindered effective interaction between the minority and the majority cultural groups. Moreover, in the United States, the immigrants are isolated from the American citizens due to the fear of people from other cultures.

Another common response to fear among the people is the act of coming suicide. In the recent years, there has been a high number of suicides due to the inability of the people to cope with failure in life. Some people fear to fail to achieve better education or marriage life. Such people end up taking their life since they believe they are failures. Just like Mahatma Gandhi says, ‘The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear’ fear has shaped the behaviour of human beings. The presence of fear in the life of a person can result in a devastating behaviour since it affects the cognitive ability of the people (Warner Tin Ship Production). For instance, the British comedian, Robin Williams, committed suicide in 2014 for fear of living with Parkinson’s disease.

Moreover, another response to fear among human beings is freezing. An occurrence of fear instantly can cause one to stand still. For example, when a wild animal such as a tiger charges towards a person, the individual may freeze due to intense fear. This is because the fear will prevent the person from running away. In a 2012 documentary titled ‘A Virus Called Fear’, the programming of fear is extensively examined. According to the documentary, fear changes our perceptions of the world since it exists in the minds of the people. The documentary presents critical issues that surround the origin of fear in mind. For example, when an individual believes that an action can cause harm then such a person develops a fear of that particular event or action. People can display fear of diverse events such as road accidents, death and even walking at night. According to the Chicago Tribune Online Newspaper,

«This is a fear of standing out and getting what you want,» Lewis-Fernandez said. «Once you get the right mind set, you need to get a coach or a mentor. You can also have an accountability buddy, which is someone who holds you to a higher standard and who believes in you. This is someone you can turn to when you have doubts.»

Other ways to which people respond to fear to include developing an aggressive behaviour and anger. Individuals who are fearful of the likelihood of a failed marriage can develop an aggressive behaviour since they cannot face the traumatising events in their lives. Aggressive behaviour is one of the most common responses to fear. This is because the becoming aggressive and violent provides a cathartic response hence such a person will have an excuse for the behaviour. Moreover, people who fear death due to a chronic health problem will tend to become aggressive and also develop anger.

In summary, fear, therefore, plays a crucial role in shaping our behaviour in the society. We should ensure that we embrace effective approaches to combating fear that we encounter in our lives. For example, if we face the fear of terrorist attacks, diseases, failed marriages, foreigners, and wars, we always adopt the fight-flight or freeze strategies in order to encounter the fear.

Works Cited

Chicago Tribune. 9 fears and how to beat them. Chicago Tribune. 2017.


Accessed 3 June 2017.

Eliot, T.S. East Coker. The Four Quartets. http://oedipa.tripod.com/eliot-2.html

Accessed 3 June 2017

Fama, Ben. ‘A Virus Called Fear. Top Documentary Films. 2012. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/virus-called-fear/ Accessed 3 June 2017

Kruglanski, Arie W. «Fear And The Psychological Response To Terrorism.» Psyccritiques, vol. 58, no. 2, 2013, American Psychological Association (APA), doi:10.1037/a0030142.

Lyons, K. Diary Review: ‘The Daunted Women of Nanking: The Wartime Diaries of Minne Vautrin. 2010. http://thediaryjunction.blogspot.co.ke/2010/06/in-darkness-and-fear.html

Accessed 3 June 2017.

Warner, Bill, director. «Why We Are Afraid, A 1400 Year Secret, By Dr Bill Warner». Tin Ship Productions, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_Qpy0mXg8Y Accessed 30 May 2017