What is the message of the poem "Burning a Book"  by William Stafford?

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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According to William Stafford,in his poem "Burning a Book"  the creative process of writing a book  can sometimes  be unsatisfactory. Quite often when a writer begins writing he tends to get carried away by his imaginative  inspiration and  the result may not be just as he had planned or expected.  The result is a poor piece of work which fails to please aesthetically.According to William Stafford it is better that such books are destroyed forever by burning.

The beginning of the poem describes minutely the process of burning one such book. The "truth" value, that is its aesthetic worth is merely "brittle and faint" and it rightly merits the treatment that it gets-it is only fit to be burnt. All that remains after it is burnt are only "a few charred words in the ashes" which have little or no value at all.

In the second stanza William Stafford says that most certainly those books which outwardly appear to be of great value-"character"- but have actually been faked deliberately by their authors deserve to be burnt. More dangerous than an author deliberately faking and trying to fool the reading public is the existence of many false and corrupt ideas which never get to be written out in books. Because if they are written out, at least then these false and corrupt ideas can be permanently destroyed by being burnt. Otherwise,"ignorance can dance in the absence of fire."

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