By Safie M. Gonzalez

HAVANA TIMES – Yesterday, my grandfather, an avid reader, came up to me with a newspaper in hand to show me an article in particular, “Fahrenheit 451”. I read it; it was really interesting. Many of you may have heard this title, as it’s a book by US writer Ray Bradbury.

This book was first published in 1953. It tells the story of a firefighter who is in charge of burning books on the government’s orders. Until finally, Montag, the lead character, begins to reflect upon his job. This begins when an old woman decides to set herself on fire and turn to ashes with her books.

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel based on an event that happened twenty years before it was published, when over 20,000 books were burned. Twenty years after the book was published, in 1973, there was another mass book burning in Pinochet’s Chile.

The pages in a book might not be more than written sentences that don’t make much sense for some. But for others, they are a source of knowledge and learning. 

Books aren’t burned anymore, and this might have been Bradbury’s fictitious take on something that could happen in the future. However, one thing is for sure, not many people are interested in reading anymore. Reading isn’t one of young people’s regular habits, it’s not even a hobby.

My grandfather, who knows I love reading, suggested I show my 24-year-old cousin the article. He has just graduated from university, but he doesn’t read and he shouldn’t be proud of his spelling.

The author of Fahrenheit 451 wanted to warn us about the importance of gaining knowledge from books. Ignoring their content is something that has been destroying us for a long time, like a fire that burns.

Safie M. Gonzalez

I was born in the 80's. I love nature and animals, as well as my country. I admire the sacrifice of a people. I consider myself a simple and honest person, therefore I detest injustices. I have a taste for the arts in general, but especially for literature, photography, and cinema. I believe in the power of the word and in the ability of the human being to change the world.

6 thoughts on ““Fahrenheit 451” and 2020

  • Nick is correct in saying that Cuba’s book fairs which are operated by and under Castro regime controls and censorship, are not “specifically designed to appeal to the Conservative mindset.”.

    Indeed they are not designed to appeal to free-thinkers of any particular political view. They are designed to promote the agenda of the Communist Party of Cuba. For some extreme left supporters that properly reflects “value”.

    That is also reflected in the libraries. In our local library, when searching for books upon agriculture (we live in an agricultural area), I found only one well thumbed book published in Spain in 1965 and describing livestock with pictures of British breeds. But there were 37 (yes, thirty seven) pristine copies of ‘Lenin’. Certainly not reading fodder for Conservatives, Liberals or Democratic Socialists.

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