October 8, 2013
LAURINBURG — At the Storytelling & Arts Center of the Southeast on Tuesday, a book discussion and exhibit took place to honor the 60th anniversary of “Fahrenheit 451” — a book whose author wanted to create a world where the written word had been named illegal.
Professor Michael J. Berntsen, a lecturer at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, made a presentation on the novel, and how Ray Bradbury came up with the plot in which fireman don’t extinguish fires but start them in order to extinguish books and all forms of the written word.
Bernsten said Bradbury was stopped by a cop one night and when the cop asked what he was doing he replied “Putting one foot in front of another.” This angered the cop and he gave him a citation. Bradbury went home that night, created a character based on himself and changed the profession of the cop to a fireman in a short story titled “The Pedestrian,” which created themes later echoed in his most known work.
Also featured at the event were original illustrations from the novel. The artist, Joseph Anthony Mugaini, is a friend of former art teacher Ingrid Royer, who donated the artwork for the discussion.
The event was part of The Big Read, a county-wide effort to increase literacy. Free copies of “Farenheit 451” are available at Scotland County Memorial Library, Scotland County Literacy Council, the offices of the Laurinburg Public Housing Authority and Scotland County Parks and Recreation, and the Storytelling & Arts Center.
Skyler Jones is a student at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke who works as an intern for The Laurinburg Exchange.