Book Burning Today

It’s clear that books are becoming less and less of a product used by citizens in the 21st century. Technological advancements such as the Kobo eReader, iPad and the internet have made books decreasingly convenient. Most people even wonder if books are worth it anymore? The answer is yes. Books still hold sentimental, religious and historical value for many people. Some people still, like me, love going out and purchasing a new book and cracking it open for the first time in a quiet cafe. One thing is certain however, books have changed.

In the novel Fahrenheit 451 books are viewed differently than they are today. In the dystopian society created by Ray Bradbury books are seen as the main source of knowledge for the general public. “The magic is in what books say” (Bradbury 79). This quote depicts the amount of information one could draw from a book during this time was magical. During present times, books are more or less meant for pleasure. You don’t hear of people reading the Bible or the Book of Ecclesiastes often like they were in Bradbury’s novel. Reading to gather information has been replaced conveniently by the internet that can be accessed by countless mobile devices. Although the use for books has changed and diminished slightly, they are still ‘alive’ for a reason whether that be pleasure or sentimental value.

Book burning was major issue during the 1950’s and during Fahrenheit 451. It’s interesting to think about how the burning of books would affect our society today. In my opinion it would have the same if not a bigger effect on our society. Although the purpose of books has changed within societies today, most historical and informational texts still exist today and are still just as important to many people. “It was a pleasure to burn” (Bradbury 1) is a popular quote from Bradbury’s novel. It was peoples job to burn books in the novel. Of course they enjoyed it as much as a doctor or teacher would enjoy his/her job today. That is what makes me think that burning books would be a bigger issue during the present century. The censorship that consumed the general public during the war and in the book does not exist in our societies today. This makes for more severity surrounding issues today; book burning would obviously be an issue.

If books were completely discarded or even burned, myself and I would hope a lot of others would be devastated. ALthough the central idea around books has changed due to technological advancements they are still alive and important to the people of the 21st century, thus if book burning were to occur it would still be a massive issue as it was in the past. You have to wonder though if nowadays people were burning iPads and cellphones would that be considered worse?

Maggie Whelan

Sources:

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953. Print.

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