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The Fun They Had

Autor:   •  March 30, 2019  •  Essay  •  5,461 Words (22 Pages)  •  4,523 Views

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Stage I. Understanding the Context

The analyzed text is a passage from the book by Isaac Asimov The Fun They Had. The author of the book is well-known as  science fiction writer as well. It is known that Isaac Asimov had a degree of Professor of  biochemistry. He received a number of awards, in 1957 he won the Edison Foundation award for Building Blocks of the Universe, and in 1960 the Howard W. Blakeslee award for The Living River in which he worked on the chemical composition of the blood and related it to other manifestations in our universe. Isaac Asimov also the author of the encyclopedic work covering in brief essay all of science for the layman called The Intelligent Man’s Guide to Sciences and a lot of science fiction books that came from under his pen.

Identifying thematic words and topic-sentences in paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: Margie, diary, May, 17, 2157, a real book, very old book, grandfather, printed, to turn the pages, yellow and crinkly, awfully funny, to stay still, on a screen, same words.

Paragraph 2: waste, television screen, a million books, telebooks, without looking, busy, scornful, I hate school.

Paragraph 3: hate school, mechanical teacher, test, worse and worse, sorrowfully, County Inspector.

Paragraph 4:  a round little man, a red face, whole box of tools, dials and wires,  took the teacher apart, hoped, all right, large, black and ugly, a big screen, most hated part, the slot, homework and test papers, a punch code, calculated mark.

Paragraph 5: smiled, patted, not the little girl fault, geared geography sector, slowed up, ten year level, disappointed, hoping, to take teacher away.

Paragraph 6: anyone wrote anyone about school, very superior eyes, stupid, old kind if school, hundred years ago, loftily, centuries ago.

Paragraph 7: hurt, that time ago, read book for a while, a regular teacher, boys and girls, a man, smart enough, I betcha, prepared to dispute, a strange man.

Paragraph 8: screamed with laughter, a special building, the same things, the same age, but my mother says, to be adjusted, to be taught differently, don’t like, don’t read.

Paragraph 9: I didn’t say, said quickly, funny schools, hall-finished, mother called, not yet, now, read the book some more, nonchalantly, whistling, dusty old book, tucked beneath his arm.

Paragraph 10: schoolroom, mechanical teacher, always, same time, every day, mother said, little girls, learned better, screen lit up, arithmetic lesson, proper fractions, insert homework, proper slot.

Paragraph 11: with a sigh, thinking about, the old schools, kids from all neighborhood, laughing, shouting, sitting together, going home together, learned the same thinks, to help, talk about, teachers were people, flesh on screen, was thinking, must have loved, old days, the fun they had.

All the paragraphs are built on analogy – we can see semantic and logical connection between them.

Identifying the main points and making a plan of a literary text. Division into logical parts.

Structurally the present literary work can be partitioned in the following way:

The first part – A very old book - starts with the words “Margie even wrote about it” end ends “I hate school” The story takes place in the future, in the year 2155 and tells us about two children – Tommy and Margie. One day Tommy finds a real old book in the attic, children are very interested in it, because in future people use only telebooks. Then they find out that it is about school. The author enhances the desired effect of “antiquity” of the book with the help of some epithets «yellow and crinkly. In the modern world people don’t have paper books, they are out of use, and instead of it they read “telebooks” (neologism that Isaac Asimov created in order to name the new future technology). After children realize that this old book is about school, Margie doesn't understand what can be interesting in this theme. It can be seen through the epithet “scornful”. The author's aim here is to emphasize that it is the speech of children, it is naturally for their age, and kids in our time speak the same. The idea of the part is to give us the picture of the future world, where everything is different but children are the same as today.

The second part - The mechanical teacher -  starts with “Margie always hated school”  end ends “blanked out completely” . The Margie’s mechanical teacher is broken, so the County Inspector comes to repair it. She hopes that he can’t fix the teacher but unfortunately the Inspector copes with it quickly. In this part we know that in the future there are no human teachers, only robots. Within the phrase “it was again, large and black and ugly” we can see Margie’s attitude to her teacher, she calls him “it”, it’s just a machine, that doesn’t have any personality and emotions. Another peculiarity of this part is a large number of scientific vocabulary screen, slot, mechanical, sector”. It is help to depict futuristic world where the technology dominates everywhere, even in education. Margie hates the process of schooling “more than ever” and she hopes that the Inspector can’t repair it. This man is very kind to her but Margie doesn’t like him because he comes to fix the robot she hates so much.

The third part – Schools of centuries ago - starts with “So she said to Tommy”  end ends “the old book tucked beneath his arm” . The children talk about the school of the past, they discuss teachers, kids, the process of education, etc. and compare it with the school of their time. They argue whether the live teacher better than the mechanical one, or not; can the living one be smarter than the machine and Margie can’t believe that the human teacher can teach as good as the mechanical one. The part is partially narrative and partially a dialogue. Margie can’t even imagine that “Centuries ago” everything was different and she is deeply impressed by this fact. The author lends some stylistic coloring to the description of the Tommy’s portrait, for example epithets “with very superior eyes” and “he added loftily”, so we see the Tommy’s superiority again. When Margie hears that in the past teachers were men she can’t believe in it. To show it Isaac Asimov uses repetition of the word “a man”. Tommy tries to explain to his sister that it’s ok, and a man is smart enough for being teacher “my father knows as much as my teacher”. Margie likes stories about the past but then her mother says that it’s time for school and they have to stop reading the book. The main idea of this part is the comparison of the past and the present.


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