BURNING A BOOK CommonLit Answers 2024 [Free Access]

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BURNING A BOOK CommonLit Answers

Discussion Questions & Answers

Following are our answers based on the questions provided:

Q.1. Why does the poet believe that “whole libraries that no one / got around to writing” is “More disturbing than book ashes”? Do you agree with him?
Ans: The poet believes that the idea of “whole libraries that no one got around to writing” is more disturbing than book ashes because it represents missed opportunities and unrealized potential. The poet may feel that the loss of books that were never written is a greater tragedy because it signifies the loss of ideas, stories, and knowledge that could have been shared with the world. However, I do not agree with this perspective. While it is true that people may choose not to write books for various reasons, such as lack of time or motivation, the actual destruction of existing books through burning is a tangible and irreversible loss. The act of book burning represents an intentional destruction of knowledge and cultural heritage, which I find more disturbing than the hypothetical absence of unwritten books.

Q.2. During the Nazi occupation of Germany, countless books were burned, including many by Jewish authors. Among those writers whose works were destroyed was Heinrich Heine, whose famous play, “Almansor,” includes the following line: “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.” In the context of this poem and the events of history, what are the dangers of censorship? Are these dangers more or less important than the dangers Stafford writes about?
Ans: The dangers of censorship are very great. With censorship, people could be living in a horrid world but be under the impression that they are very lucky. Censorship takes away things like free speech, and it can be a form of mass brainwashing. And like Heinrich Heine said, ” Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.” This will happen. In a society where books are burned, people who go against the leaders of that society are likely to face consequences like death. I think these dangers are more important than what Stafford writes about.

Q.3. In the context of this poem, what is the goal of education? How does the production of books aim to advance that goal? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: The goal of education is to acquire knowledge and understanding about various subjects, including the past, present, and future. Education aims to both learn and teach others. In the context of this poem, the production of books serves as a means to advance this goal. Books are written with the intention of providing information and teaching readers about different topics.
For example, books can be written about historical events to educate people about what happened in the past. By reading these books, individuals can gain insights into significant events that have shaped our world. This helps them understand how certain decisions or actions in history have influenced society.

Q.4. In the context of this poem, which is more important: freedom or security? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: I think freedom is more important than Security. Living a life where you are completely safe and secure would take out all the things that make life worth living. Every day people do things that could end badly, like climbing a mountain. This is freedom that people all over experience. Security would be staying home because you are worried about getting hurt when you go climbing. Having Security over freedom leads to a safer life but also a boring life. Security takes away so many amazing things you could do in your life and only leaves the boring things in. I really enjoy climbing trees. Being up high makes me happy and I feel free in trees. Choosing security over freedom would make it so I would not or couldn’t climb trees, but I enjoy climbing so It would be sad. Freedom leads to an enjoyable life while security leads to a safer and perhaps longer life, but If you only get to live once I would rather do things like climb trees or stand on the edge of a cliff in the mountains with a river far below than never do something like that at all.


Assessment Questions & Answers

Following are our answers based on the questions provided:

Q.1. PART A: Which of the following best summarizes the theme of this poem?
Ans: We are all guilty of censorship when we reject ideas that do not align with our own.

Q.2. PART B: Which lines from the poem best support the answer to Part A?
Ans: “So I’ve burned books. And there are many / I haven’t even written, and nobody has.” (Lines 18-19)

Q.3. PART A: As used in line 13, what does the word “unthought” mean?
Ans: lack of ideas

Q.4. PART B: Which of the following phrases from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: “whole libraries that no one/ got around to writing” (Lines 11-12)

Q.5. Describe the structure of the poem, and explain how this structure supports the development of the theme. Cite evidence from the poem in your response.
Ans: The structure of a poem refers to the organization and arrangement of its lines, stanzas, and overall form. It plays a crucial role in supporting the development of the theme. For example, in a sonnet, which consists of 14 lines with a specific rhyme scheme, the structure can emphasize the speaker’s emotions or ideas. Additionally, line breaks and stanza divisions can create pauses or shifts in meaning.
To analyze how structure supports theme development, we need to examine specific examples from a poem. Without knowing which poem you are referring to or providing any evidence from it, I cannot provide an accurate response. Please provide more information or cite specific lines from the poem for further analysis.


You can find answer keys for other grade 6 topics here:

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In CommonLit, “BURNING A BOOK” is one of the students’ favorite poems authored by William Stafford for grade 6 students.

In this captivating poem, the speaker describes book burning, a common method of censorship in which people set fire to books they object to on political, cultural, or religious grounds.


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