What many students fail to realize is that the key phrase “no place” is almost a question on necessity. Not quite, but almost. Answering it as though it were a question on necessity would meet requirements, although there are a couple of additional arguments that would work for an essay on “no place”, when compared to an essay on “necessary/unnecessary”.
With this in mind, recap the skills needed for answering a question on necessity, then consider this question:
‘The book has no place in modern society’. Discuss. (2010)
- Consider substitutes and viable alternatives to books (as with any question on necessity), and show an understanding of how books are losing their place due to these substitutes / alternatives. Note that this is the underlying issue in this question – some examples include that of eBooks replacing the traditional book, of the internet replacing reference books, and possibly the issue of how people no longer read thanks to visual entertainment.
- Make an assessment of the current situation* – do books have a place in modern society? In other words, this question is not about whether books should have a place (this typically overlaps with the common mistake of considering the benefits of books, stated below)
*See this post for further explanation.
Some common mistakes:
- Discussing the pros and cons of books and their substitutes (same mistake that is commonly made with questions on necessity)
- Making a value judgement
Read the following excerpts and decide whether it meets requirements (in other words, will pass for content), or whether it fails to meet requirements. For each example, state “Pass” or “Fail” accordingly. If you think it passes, state the main area(s) for improvement. If you think it fails, state the main reason(s) why it does not meet requirements.
The books allow us to escape from real life. When we read a book, we will be so engrossed by it that we are mentally transported to a different and different place where all of our worries are put aside and for a short time forgotten. […] Books should have a place in modern society. People should read them because it decreases their stress level and it is healthy for their minds.
Books are a waste of time. Parents, especially, seem to think so. Instead of reading fiction, parents often believe that their children should spend that time studying instead, as reading fiction will not help them with their examinations. […] Thus, a book has no place in modern society because it may be deemed as a waste of time.
People literally make themselves stupid by Googling everything, or in more technical terms, ultraselecting every bit of content down to even the definition of a word, that has multiple, overlapping definitions, that suits one best – simply because he likes it. Ultraselection prevents the promotion of critical thinking due to the utterly myopic scope of monodisciplinary knowledge (more often than not) one seeds of Google. With books, one is constantly exposed to different disciplines, types and formats of information. It is precisely the rummaging through multitudes of books that allow us to gains and process that knowledge, whether we like it or not. And, with the increasing need for multi-disciplinary critical thinking in a monodisciplinary profession-driven world, books have never been more needed by society. Some may argue that there are many other ways of using Google or ultraselection, to sieve out information of different disciplines and gain knowledge from them. If it is possible to diversify our knowledge inputs, then why would critical thinking not be developed then? The answer is painfully obvious – critical thinking would never be developed by spoonfed, pre-processed information that never give a chance to the student to think. It is just like cooking out of cans with a microwave – as one would duly learn how to cook. Books still remains the simplest source of diversified, thought-evoking information that is essential in upkeeping the modern man’s critical thinking skills to remain relevant in modern society. The book has surely not lost its place.
Some may argue, as modern society progresses, more technological advancements, from the discman holding 12 songs to the iPod holding 5000 songs, now books can be compacted in such a manner. The iPad is able to hold up to 1.5 million books in a simple 500g device. This shows that one can carry encyclopedias and novels paged by the thousands in their handbag. However, such LCD screens cause strain on the eyes. Books may be more beneficial to people especially in the modern society where more people are myopic as a result of the increase in use of computers.
In modern society, movies are more palatable to the public. Some of these movies are adapted from novels and may omit certain details of the story due to time constraints. Thus, books have a place as they tell a story in the original way an author intended it to be told.