Book Burning: Then to Now


           Everyone loves a good book, or at least I know I do.  I love picking up a new book at the store, and losing myself in the words, characters and different worlds inside it. Whether or not this is true for everyone, we can all agree that as much as people may enjoy reading books that hold so much delight and insight, in our generation, the Internet and other technologies such as eBooks and Kindle that replace hard copies of books, are of a greater necessity to us in our society today. The way we view technology now is because of humanity itself, making it grow and take over our entire lives, “It didn’t come from the government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God” (Bradbury 58). Despite the fact that the destruction of physical books may not be as big of a deal as it has been in the past, the destruction of different forms technologies has the same affect on people.


                 Not too long ago, books held knowledge that we could never replace, so when they were gone, so was the information it contained. Now we can back up, store, look up and preserve information on the Internet that is close to impossible to ever remove completely. For this reason, we cherish our technological ability to search and read information and novels online, and still receive the same feeling we get when reading a physical book. The book is almost extinct and technology is born to take its place. As stated by Beatty, “Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information.” (Bradbury 58) This quote effectively shows the impact that technology has had on our view of the knowledge we obtain. The information may be the same, but the way we absorb it, not so much so. With the world’s questions and answers at the tip of our fingers, whether we realize its falsity, the original source of gaining knowledge, books and oral tradition, is getting lost. We can almost get rid of all books and not feel the loss, right? But yet we still hold on.


           Recently in the news, the United States had condemned Turkey’s “Twitter Ban”, as being the equivalent to “21st Century book burning”. This ban made by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, was imposed under personal reasons; “Twitter was used to post links to recordings that appear to incriminate him and colleagues in corruption” (US condemns Turkey). The people in Turkey are furious about this ban because, “In an era in which the Internet serves as the world’s community forum, censorship anywhere is a threat to freedom of speech everywhere”, as stated by Douglas Frantz, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (21st Century book burning). The people of turkey have found ways however, to continue watching videos, communicating on Twitter and protesting against the government to give back their right to access this social media. This is an example of how modern day book burning is just as affective in our society today because it is the destruction of peoples right to read, listen to and voice their opinions and beliefs, whether this means the physical destruction of books, or a form of social media given in this example.


Works Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1953. Print. 

             “US condemns Turkey Twitter ban as ‘21st-century book burning.’” The Week Magazine. 23 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.


 “’21st century book burning,’ U.S. official blog slams Ankara.” Hurriyet Daily News. 22 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.



Heinrich Heine: Book Burning


In today’s society, individualism is something to strive for. We want to break the barriers of society, listen to music that nobody listens to or start a trend that no one has ever thought of. Individualism is also freethinking, and that is all we want, to be able to express our own thoughts and ideas, and still be accepted within our community. We have never had a society in which freethinking is completely accepted and encouraged, and according to Ray Bradbury in his novel Fahrenheit 451, it never will. Austin Cline, in his article, connects the Holocaust and book burning with the similar “desire to eliminate ideas that are a threat to the some group or ideology which is in power.”

Nazi Germany, through and after the war, became known for two practices; the burning of books and the burning of people. Both of which happened because of the fear that the Nazi Party had when they came into power, of ideas and messages that might threaten the Germany that the Nazi’s aimed for. This included books, which documented ideas were either by Jews, communists, socialists and other “degenerates”, or expressed ideas that undermined Nazi beliefs, and people that these ideas originated from that must be destroyed in order to make sure these messages don’t spread. This is why millions of people had to die in the Holocaust, under the power of the Nazi’s so that their ideas would be maintained, and others would be extinguished.

In the novel, Clarisse is the only character with true individuality and freedom, which is why her community shuns her, and anyone like her, because individuality is strongly prohibited, i.e the burning of books that contains individualistic ideas. She seems to know so much more than anyone else in the novel or in the society, which poses as a threat to the government that she will be smart enough to somehow start a revolution. Maybe she is truly the only one that has true knowledge of the world in this dystopian society, which makes he even more an individual and a maverick. Is this why she had to die? “She’s better off dead” as Beatty states in the novel…

Books, like any other form of art such as music, are a person’s physical expression of their inner emotions, ideas, and beliefs.  We make connections with these things we create or relate to because they reflect the person we are. Because of this, people will do anything to hold onto them. That is why in the book Fahrenheit 451, the little old lady dies with her books that she is so infatuated with and passionate about. The burning of a book destroys the paper, the words, and any person that connects to it in some way.