Analysis of Book War by Wang Ping Reading books is one of the surest ways that people learn. It is also a means by which people pass information and serves to store past events for future reference. Book War was written by Wang Ping and majors on an event that occurred in China in the 1960’s. The government of China banned all books and closed down schools. Any citizen who was found reading a book was put into a death sentence. The effects of this decision by the government were major and varied.
One morning when Ping was out to light the stove and prepare breakfast, he saw a girl, his neighbor, reading a book under the street light. The fact that her hair and shoulders were covered with frost, Ping concluded that she must have been there all night. This shows one of the effects the ban to reading had on young people. At first Ping thought that she was reading one of Mao’s books but later realizes that it was the story of Little Mermaid. He had wanted to read the book but only when he was able to read a book on his own, the revolution began and booked were termed as poisonous weed. The fact that the girl had disguised the book with a cover of Mao’s works shows how eager people were to read. She had felt the need to read the book but could not do that openly in fear of the government. This is one instance that shows how cruel the government’s decision was on those that really wanted to read.
Ping and his neighbor decided to carry out a secret book exchange program. This emphasizes their determination to keep reading despite threats form the government. Ping later discovers a box of books that his mother had hidden. Whenever his mother discovered a book he was reading, she would order him to tear it and burn the pages. Then she would explain that it was for their safety with tears in her eyes. The author says that their hearts were turned into ashes. This can be taken to imply desperation and safe pity. All they could do was stick to the instructions from the government or risk their lives.
In his last stanza, when the last of the books was burnt, he sat in the chicken coop. It was here that all the stories became alive in him as tears flowed freely. He then started telling stories to friends, siblings, and neighbors. These were stories he had read from the forbidden books and some that he had made up. From this experience, the author concludes that even if books are banned and burnt, hope and stories are still alive.
The experience from this story emphasizes the importance of stories to people, even to children. Books carry stories that convey significant meaning to anyone at any age group. It is therefore, important that people should be given the freedom to read. For instance, the number of times the author has cried in this story shows how psychologically traumatized they were. There was still a lot of suffering experienced from the ban of books. The little girl had to spend the night outside in privacy all in determination to read a book. The author’s mother went further and hid a variety of books only to burn them later for the safety of the family. Insecurity and fear is evident in this text as people struggle to get access to books and be safe at the same time. Reading stories and books also opens up a child’s mind to creativity. The author realizes that he could tell stories from the books that he had secretly read, and even make up some stories. This shows that his desire to read books resulted to his realization of his creativity.
There are a variety of stories that have been of significance importance in my life. For instance, each time I read any book by William Shakespeare I feel inspired and entertained. He was such a great writer. Some of his works that I love most include Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear. I also love The Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. In general works of fiction serves noteworthy roles in the lives of readers. It is, therefore, arguably, wrong for a government to ban the reading of books by its people.
Wang Ping, http://www.macalester.edu/~ping/files/others/book_war.html.