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The fun they had

By Hichi99 Apr 20, 2015 892 Words
The text I`m going to interpret is written by Isaac Azimov. He was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books he published influential sci-fi works like I, Robot and the Foundation trilogy, The Naked Sun and Foundation's Edge, The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science which was the encyclopedic work of science for the layman. The Fun They Had is also one of his marvelous works. The events of this story take place in distant future, 2157. There are no real schools here, the books printed on paper are replaced by screen books and human teachers are replaced by mechanical ones. The hero of this story Tommy once finds a very unusual book in which words are static. This book describes a school from centuries earlier, where children used to gather in one large building to be taught by a real person. Margie, Tommy's younger friend, is very curious, but her mother calls her because it is time for school, where she will be taught by a robot. So, the problem raised by the author in this text is about modern technologies and their influence on people. The extract is written in the form of the third person narration, the narrator doesn’t participate in the actions but knows everything about the characters. The narration here is combined with dialogue which takes the most part of the story. The general slant is lyrical and a bit sentimental. Tonality in the story is rather bright and emotional as here is displayed the communication of the children. From the point of view of its composition this text may be divided into four parts: exposition, plot-development, climax and denouement. In drawing the main characters the author resorts to the indirect method of characterization. The author doesn`t state what the characters are like, they are revealed through their dialogues, actions and thoughts. Tommy is 13 year old boy who leaves an impression of serious and curious child. But in his dialogues with Margie he seems quite arrogant. He finds his superiority in the facts that he is older, cleverer and moreover he is the one who found their little treasure – a real book. As for eleven year old Margie she also seems to be curious and thoughtful and her failure with the tests in geography is caused by her negative attitude to the modern way of teaching. The first part of the story is rather small and it states the Tommy`s discovery of the book. Then comes plot development where this book is described. The words stood still in it instead of moving like on a screen. The indirect onomatopoeia «crinkly pages» underlines its antiquity. Tommy`s euphemism «Gee» shows us his astonishment about this discovery. When Margie gets to know that it`s about school she becomes scornful as she hates school. The parallel constructions «Margie always hated school, but now she hated it more than ever», «test after test in geography and she had been doing worse and worse» emphasize her irritation towards the mechanical teacher. It is evidently contrasts with the County Inspector who comes to repair it. He was a round little man who smiled at Margie, patted her head, gave her an apple and took the hateful teacher apart. The gradation “large and black and ugly” once more stresses Margie`s attitude towards the mechanical teacher and her unwillingness to be taught by it. So she asks Tommy why would anyone write about the school. Tommy looks at her with very superior eyes, this epithet and his colloquial stupid, his reference to Margie, proves the boy`s arrogance. He answers that this is old kind of school where a teacher wasn`t regular, it was a man. And here the story reaches its climax. Margie is very surprised about it, she says that a man isn`t smart enough and that she doesn`t want a strange man in her house. Tommy screams with laughter, that shows his attitude again and tells Margie about special buildings where kids were taught together. Margie is amazed about all this facts and wants to read more. The denouement comes when Margie`s mother calls her to go to school. In the classroom the girl thinks about the kids of the old kinds of schools, about the fun they had and we can see that she really envies them. By using informal vocabulary, colloquial words and short simple sentences the author draws the characters of the children and creates unconstrained mood. And such neologisms as County Inspector, telebooks make the story more vivid and true to life. This story makes us think if modern technologies contribute to our development as humans and if the mechanical teacher can replace the real one. And with the help of the main characters we can see how much children need human care and affection that no one mechanical creature is capable to give them. Moreover, it is always interesting for me to read how the writers of the previous generations saw our future life, and I realize that they were quite right that makes me feel some kind of fear.

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