Summary of 'The Fun They Had'
The Fun They Had by ISAAC ASIMOV is a futuristic story set in 2157 AD. The story writer envisions what the schools and education system will look like in 23rd century.
The story opens with Margie writing in her diary about an old book that Tommy had found. Margie remembers her grandfather once talked about his grandfather who went to an actual school where the children went for education and where they were taught by human teachers.
However, Margie and Tommy live in the future world of 23rd century where education was completely computerized. They don’t have schools; they have a special study room where a computer teaches them. The computer teacher is programmed and adjusted according to the needs of each child. Now and then the computer teacher develops some fault which is fixed by a County Inspector.
Both Tommy and Margie wonder at the book found by Tommy in his attic. They wonder at the book as they read books on screen of computer teacher. Margie feels the computer teacher is boring; she does not like the mechanical teaching and learning. She also wonders how much fun would it be studying in a school with other children from a human teacher.
Answer these questions in a few words or a couple of sentences each.
1. How old are Margie and Tommy?
A. Margie and Tommy live in the future, in the year 2157. They are neighbours and spend time together. Margie is a girl of eleven years of age while Tommy is a boy of thirteen.
2. What did Margie write in her diary?
A. On 17 May 2157, Margie wrote that that day Tommy had found a real book in the attic of his house. It was an old book with yellow, crinkly pages.
3. Had Margie ever seen a book before?
A. No, Margie had not seen a book before the one found by Tommy in his house. She had only heard from her grandfather that his grandfather went to school as a boy and that they read books that were printed on paper.
4.What things about the book did she find strange?
A. As Margie lived in an era where students studied from a mechanical teacher and all the books appeared on the screen, she found it strange that the words on the printed book did not move. It was strange to see the same words appear on the pages as she flipped them over.
5.What do you think a telebook is?
A. A telebook is an electronic book also known as an e-book. It is stored in a computer and can be read by scrolling up or down the screen.
6. Where was Margie’s school? Did she have any classmates?
A.Margie’s school was in her house. It was a room next to her bedroom. It was a personal classroom where the computer was adjusted to her level of learning. She studied by herself and had no classmates.
7.What subjects did Margie and Tommy learn?
A.Margie and Tommy learnt a lot of subjects like Geography, History and Mathematics.
Answer the following with reference to the story.
1. “I wouldn’t throw it away.”
(i) Who says these words?
A. Tommy says these words.
(ii) What does ‘it’ refer to?
A. ‘It’ refers to the Computer screen on which Tommy reads various books.
(iii) What is it being compared with by the speaker?
A. ‘It’ is being compared to the paper book that Tommy found in his house.
2. “Sure they had a teacher, but it wasn’t a regular teacher. It was a man.”
(i) Who does ‘they’ refer to?
A. ‘They’ refers to the ancestors of the children who went to school and studied from a human teacher.
(ii) What does ‘regular’ mean here?
A.‘Regular’ means the mechanical teacher which teaches Margie and Tommy.
(iii) What is it contrasted with?
A.The mechanical teacher is contrasted with a human teacher.
Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (about 30 words).
1. What kind of teachers did Margie and Tommy have?
A. Margie and Tommy had mechanical teachers. They were computers which had preloaded lessons on different subjects according to the learner’s level. Whenever they malfunctioned, they were opened and repaired.
2. Why did Margie’s mother send for the County Inspector?
A. Margie’s mother called the County Inspector to check Margie’s teacher. She thought that probably, Margie’s teacher had a malfunction. Margie was failing the Geography tests repeatedly which could be due to a fault in the teacher.
3. What did he do?
A. The County Inspector was trained to repair the computer teacher. He opened the machine and checked it. The Geography sector was set on a higher level. He reset it to Margie’s level and closed the teacher.
4. Why was Margie doing badly in geography? What did the County Inspector Do to help her
A.Margie was failing in the Geography tests as the teacher had developed a fault. The County Inspector told Margie’s mother that Margie was not at fault. Her progress was good. He reset the teacher to Margie’s level.
5. What had once happened to Tommy’s teacher?
A. Once Tommy’s teacher had developed a fault as the entire section on History had been deleted. His teacher had been taken for repairs and it took them a month to set it right.
6.Did Margie have regular days and hours for school? If so, why?
A. Margie studied at the same time everyday, except Saturdays and Sunday. Her mother was very particular and had told Margie that she would learn better if she studied at the same time every day.
7. How does Tommy describe the old kind of school?
A. Tommy said that in the old kind of schools, there was a man teacher who told a few things to the students, gave them home work and then asked them questions. The man teacher was as knowledgeable as the machine teacher.
8. How does he describe the old kind of teachers?
A. He says that the old teachers were not the regular kind they had. They were human beings and not machines