If Montag was a real human being, instead of character in my favorite book, FAHRENHEIT 451, he’d say that censorship is an “Electric-Eyed Snake delving into our souls, reaching into our minds, looking to take away the very essence of our being, our spirit.” Since the beginning of time, there are those who would censor us.
What censors don’t understand is that books are more than words printed on a paper. They are the essence of man, his mind and spirit in black and white. But, like Faber told Montag in FAHRENHEIT 451, “Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores.” Books are breathing, living things. They are our thoughts, our actions, recorded, living long after we as authors are gone, reaching out into the beyond, forever and ever into the hearts of future generations. The contents of a book can move us, change us, mold us, enlighten us in ways that our own limited experiences cannot. This quote, and many more like it, are the reasons I love Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451.
As a teacher, this book really resonated with me. More than anything, though, I love how it changes my student’s perspective about their role in their own education. Suddenly, they understand the great gift our nation is bestowing upon them in providing them with a free education. They see the role they play in taking advantage of our educational system and it moves them to action. Reading FAHRENHEIT 451 helps my students see the dangers of ignorance and thus they begin to value reading and education. That makes this book, a “quality” book, and one that I hope we never censor again.
It’s just too ironic, even laughable, to censor a book about censoring a society to the point of burning houses with books in them. So the next time you are browsing a used book store and come across a copy of FAHRENHEIT 451, buy it and hand it to a parent. Ask them to read it with their children. It will change their lives.
Guadalupe Garcia McCall was born in Mexico and moved to Texas as a young girl, keeping close ties with family on both sides of the border. Trained in Theater Arts and English, she now teaches English/Language Arts at a junior high school. Her poems for adults have appeared in more than twenty literary journals. Under the Mesquite was inspired by the difficult experiences her own family went through during her teen years. This is her first book. McCall lives with her husband and their three sons in the San Antonio, Texas, area. You can find her on the Web at guadalupegarciamccall.com