On Destroying the Books by John C. Squire Summary and Notes

May 21, 2018

On Destroying the Books by John C. Squire Summary and Notes

On Destroying the Books Summary

On Destroying the Books Questions Notes with answers

Here is the summary and complete notes of the essay 'On Destroying the Books' written by J.C. Squire. This essay is included in Book II of second-year students in Pakistan. anyhow the students across the globe can benefit from this post

On Destroying the Books


In this essay, the author describes that how he destroyed his unimportant and unwanted books. Getting rid of a heap of ordinary books may be a simple affair of someone as "you just throw them out". But with the author, this very simple affair turns out to be a serious adventure, because he had to get rid of dozens of books. Either he had to leave the flat and leave it in the sole possession of his books throw them out. So he pondered over different ways of destroying books. 

One way of getting rid of books was to sell them but no one would buy books of inferior poetry. He thought to burn them in his study room but the fireplace was too small that the books had to be burned leaf by leaf which is a hopeless task because you cannot burn books leaf by leaf without looking at the pages. Some people sent their useless books to soldiers. He himself could send them to soldiers as a gift. But he would not send his unwanted books to the soldiers. Rather the writer thought that they deserved a quicker death.

           He thought a lot about it and stuffed the books into a sack, put it over his shoulders and went down the stairs into the cold street at midnight. He turned up his collar and hurried towards the bridge. On his way, he came across a policeman. The writer got scared and thought that the policeman might suspect him as a thief who was carrying stolen goods in the sack. But the policeman did not even look at him and went his way. Thus the writer resumed his walk towards the bridge. When he reached the bridge, he became nervous. He leaned against the embankment or side wall of the bridge. 

Suddenly he heard a footstep near him. He sprang back from the wall and started walking. He thought that the person might take him for a thief but it was a tramp who paid no attraction to him. The writer again prepared himself to throw the sack of books down into the river but again there was a sound of the footstep. The writer was again struck with horror. Hw thought that if he threw the sack into the river, there would be a great splash that would attract people who would consider him as a child lifter and a killer.

            Therefore, the writer hesitated for some time, walked up and down the bridge in confusion and called himself an ass and coward. Then he mustered up courage, enough courage to lift the sack and throw it in the river below. It hit the water with a great splash. Then silence prevailed again. Nobody came there to arrest him. He returned home thinking about the fate of the books.

Questions Notes

 Q. 1: What sorts of books were presented by the British public to soldiers?
  Ans: Most of the books sent to soldiers were ordinary and suitable. But they were also presented oddest books such as twenty years old magazine, guides to the lake district and back numbers of Whitaker‟s almanac.
 Q. 2: Was it the interest of soldiers that prompted their action, it wished to get rid of the useless books?
 Ans No, it was not the interest of soldiers. In fact, they want to get rid of their old and useless books. So they sent them to the soldiers.
Q. 3: Why should bad books be destroyed?
  Ans Bad books should be destroyed so that there should be space for good and new books on the shelves. Moreover, it
Q. 4: Why is it difficult to destroy books?
  Ans It is difficult to destroy books because they die hard. We do not have a proper place to burn them. They are like cats and it is difficult to find a scaffold for them.
Q. 5: Why could not the author burn the unwanted books?
  Ans The author could not burn the unwanted books because he had no cooking range and he could not burn them on the gas cooker.
Q. 6: How did he decide to get rid of them?
  Ans He decided to get rid of them by throwing them into the river. He stuffed them into a sack and went to the river to throw them.
Q. 7: Describe the authors midnight venture to throw the books in the river and the suspicion which his action was likely to arouse?
  Ans At midnight, the author stuffed the books in a sack. He shouldered them and went to fling them into the river. He was terribly frightened at the sight of a policeman and a stranger. At last, he threw the books into the river after many difficulties.
Q. 8: How did he muster up courage, at last, to fling them into the river?
  Ans The writer was hesitant to throw them. Then he abused himself for his cowardice. At last, he mustered up courage and threw the sack into the river.
Q. 9: Did he come to have a feeling for those books once he had got rid of them?
 Ans He was sad after throwing the books. He thought that poor books met a fate worse than they deserve.
Q.10: What did the writer think about the splash?
  Ans The writer thought that people would catch him. They would think that he had thrown a baby into the river. Therefore, he was afraid of the splash of the sack.
Q.11: Give the names of the books that the writer threw into the river?
  Ans The names of the books are Odes to Diana, Sonnets to Ethel, Dramas on Love of Lancelot and Stanzas on a first Glimpse of Venice.
Q.12: What did the writer think when he saw the policeman on the way?
  Ans When he saw a policeman on the way, he became afraid. He thought that he would consider him a thief and arrest him. But the policeman did not take any notice of him.
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