THE FUN THEY HAD
‘The Fun They Had’ by Isaac Asimov, is a very brief short story, structured around the character of a young little girl who lives in the future. Like all short stories, it presents a single event – the time when the character sees a printed book for the first time.
Given that the short story was intended to be read as children’s fiction, the narrative plot makes its structure very simple. ‘The Fun They Had’ does not include all the plot elements; it lacks a climax and it merely presents the character’s reactions to finding a printed book and discovering more about school systems, centuries before.
Theme and message
The main theme in the short story, ‘The Fun They Had’ by Isaac Asimov is that of education. More specifically, the narrative deals with the future of education which will become increasingly computerized and estranged from social interactions. The author’s message is one of warning against the dangers of computerized homeschooling, which deprives children of the benefits of the personal interactions, between students and teachers, which help them develop social skills.
The story ‘The Fun They Had’ by Isaac Asimov is about the year 2157, when every child has his own machine teacher and schools like today, do not exist anymore. Asimov wrote this story in 1951 for a syndicated newspaper page. Later, ‘The Fun They Had’ was published in "Fantasy and Science Fiction"
In the year 2157, the thirteen-year-old Tommy finds an old book. He and Margie, who is eleven, find it strange that the words on paper do not move after having been read. Nowadays, they only read stories on the computer screen. The book is about school- centuries ago. Margie is very surprised that in the past pupils had a person, as a teacher and that all children of the same age, learnt the same thing and went to a school house, with other children. Margie wants to read more of the book but first she has to learn with her machine teacher, whose level is too advanced for her and she thinks school in those days, was much better, than today.
The short story, 'The Fun They Had' written by Isaac Asimov deals with a boy and a girl, Tommy and Margie, who find out something about school in the past time. On 17th May 2157, Tommy, a thirteen-year-old boy, finds a' real book' which has been printed on paper, is at the house of Margie. She’s an eleven-year-old-girl. They both take a look at it together. The book is really old and pages are yellow and crinkly. In the year 2157, these kinds of books didn’t exist anymore. In this time, words are moving on a television screen. This television contains over a million of books. That is the reason, why Tommy thinks that they are much better. He has found the old book in the attic of his house. While reading, Tommy says that it is about school. Margie hates school and cannot understand why someone would write about it. She was having problems with learning geography from her 'mechanical teacher'. It was black, large and had a on it. It teaches the students, gives them exercises and ask them questions, all in a special room in their own house. It can also calculate the marks in no time. Margie hates the slot where she has to insert her homework or test papers. Once the geography sector of her mechanical teacher was graded too quick, so that, her marks got worse and worse. The county inspector rebuilt it after one hour. He was really nice to Margie. She hoped that her mechanical teacher would be away for a long time. Tommy says that the book which he has found, is not about their type of school, it is about schools centuries ago.
They find out that students, then, had a man as a teacher who taught the girls and boys, gave them homework and asked them questions. They had a special building,that the children went to. And they learned the same thing, if they were the same age. At first,
Margie does not understand how a person could be a teacher and how the students were taught the same thing because her mother says that education must fit each child's mind, nevertheless, in her opinion, these schools are funny and she wants to read more about it. Then it is time for Margie and Tommy, for their school. Margie goes to the schoolroom in her house, where the mechanical teacher stands. It is already on because the lessons are always at regular hours. She was thinking about the old school system and how much fun the children must have had, learning and spending time together.
I. Answer the following with reference to the story.
1. “Because it’s not our kind of school, stupid. This is the old kind of school….”
i) Who says these words and to whom?
ii) What does ‘our kind of school’ refer to?
iii) What is it being compared with by the speaker?
2. “Sure they had a teacher, but it wasn’t a regular teacher. It was a man.”
i) Who does ‘they’ refer to?
ii) What does ‘regular’ mean here?
iii) What is it contrasted with?
II.Answer the following questions in 30-40 words.
1. How was the book that Tommy found different from his own books?
2. Why did Margie’s mother send for the County Inspector? What was done?
3. Did Margie have regular days and hours for school? If so, why?
4. What kind of teachers did the old schools have?
5. Tommy thought the old kind of books were funny and a big waste. Why?
III. Answer the following questions in 100-150 words.
1. Do you agree with Margie that schools today are more fun than the school in the story? Give reasons for your answer.
Please click on below link to downloadCBSE Class 9 English The Fun they Had Worksheet Set A