THE FUN THEY HAD
(Explanation, Meaning of difficult words)
Author – Issac Asimov
|Even||Also, Show that something is a surprise or unusual|
|Headed||Heading of the page, At the top of a page|
That night Margie wrote about it in her diary. The date at the top of the page was 17 May 2157. She wrote that Tommy had found a real book!
It was a very old book. Grandfather of Margie had once told her about books. Her grandfather told her what his grandfather had told him. He had told her grandfather that once upon a time all the stories or books used to be printed on a paper.
|Crinkly||Having folds or lines, Wrinkled, Not smooth|
|Awfully||Highly, Very, Really|
|Supposed to||Expected to|
People of old times, used to turn pages to read a book. Those pages were yellow and wrinkled. It was very funny that the words did not move on these pages. But the words are expected to move on a screen.
Difference between type of books and method of reading is expressed in these lines.
And when they again looked at the page they had read before, it had the same words on it. These words on a page were always the same as that the words seen for the first time.
|Gee||It is an expression of surprise|
|You are through||You have completed|
|Good for plenty more||Can be used for many more|
To have a printed book is a waste. Tommy guessed that after completing a book, one would throw it away. Thus it is a wastage. Our television screen has millions of books stored in it. Even now it has capacity to store more books. I will never delete a book from memory of my television.
|Telebooks||Books that can be stored in television|
Margie replied that his television also has capacity to store more books. She is 11 years old and has not seen as many books as Tommy has seen. Age of Tommy is thirteen. Margie asked Tommy where he found the book.
|Attic||Storage space just below ceiling|
Tommy replied that he found the book in his attic. While replying he did not look at Margie because he was busy reading the book. Margie asked what the topic of the book was. He replied – ‘School’.
|Scornful||Disrespectful, Insulting, Taunting|
|More than ever||Of highest degree|
Tauntingly Margie exclaimed about school. There is nothing that can be written about school. Margie always hated school. But now her hate towards school was of highest degree.
|Mechanical teacher||Teaching machine|
|County Inspector||Inspector of teaching machines|
|Sorrowfully||Sadly, Having sadness, In a sad way|
The teaching machine had started giving Margie more number of tests in geography. She had been doing worse in every paper. Her mother was worried and sad. One day her mother called the Inspector of teaching machine to check the machine.
|Round little||Fat and short|
|Took apart||Separated different parts, Disassemble|
The Inspector was a fat and short man. He had brought a box that was full of wires and dial gauges. He smiled at Margie and gave her an apple. Then he separated different parts of teaching machine for checking.
|Put together||Join, Assemble|
|An hour or so||About an hour|
Margie had hoped that the Inspector would not know how to join the machine. But he knew. He repaired the teaching machine in about an hour. It looked a large, black and ugly machine having a big screen. All the lessons were shown on the screens. Questions were asked on the screen.
|In no time||Immediately, Instantly|
The work done by the Inspector was satisfactory. Margie hated the slot of the machine most. She had to put papers of her homework and answer sheets in that slot. She had to write her answers in a code language. This code language was taught to her when she was six years old. The teaching machine calculated her marks almost instantly.
|Scornful||Disrespectful, Insulting, Taunting|
|More than ever||Of highest degree|
|A little quick||Slightly fast|
After completing his work the Inspector patted head of Margie. Name of mother of Margie was Mrs. Jones. He said to her mother that it was not the fault of Margie. He thought that the geography section of the machine had become fast.
Sometimes such problems come. Now I have reduced the speed of the teaching machine to the level of a ten year old student. Overall performance of Margie has been satisfactory. He patted Margie’s head and went away.
Margie was not happy. She had hoped that the Inspector would take away the teacher for repairing. Once they had taken away teacher of Tommy. It took them about a month to repair it. The history portion of his teacher had completely stopped working.
Therefore she asked why anybody would write about the school. She did not understand meaning of school. She was being taught by a mechanical teacher at her home.
|Superior eyes||Showing high opinion about oneself|
Tommy looked at Margie as if he was more knowledgeable. He told her that it was not their type of school. That was an old type of school they had many hundred years ago. Quite arrogantly and carefully he said “Centuries ago.”
Margie felt insulted. She said that she was not aware of the type of school they had during that time. She stood behind Tommy and read the book by looking over his shoulders. Then she said that they also had a teacher.
|Regular||Of usual kind|
Tommy replied that students of those days had a teacher. But it was not a teacher similar to that of our time. It was a human being. Margie was surprised. She asked how a human being can be a teacher. Tommy replied that the teacher explained certain things to student. He gave them homework and asked them questions.
|Betcha||I bet on it, I am sure about it|
Maagie said that a human being is not intelligent. Tommy replied that human being is intelligent. Because my father knows as much as my mechanical teacher knows. He further said that he could bet his father knew as much as his teacher.
|Prepared||Not ready, Did not want to|
Margie did not want to debate on this topic. She said that she would not like a strange person to be in her house to teach her.
|Screamed with laughter||Laughed loudly|
Tommy laughed loudly and said that Margie did not know much about it. The teachers did not live in the houses of students. There was a special building where all the children went to study.
Margie asked if all student learnt the same thing. Tommy replied that they studied the same thing if they were of the same age.
Margie narrated what her mother had told her. She had said that teachers need to adjust their lesson according to the mental development of each student. Each kid needs to be taught in a different manner.
Tommy said that during those days teacher did not teach in that manner. If you do not like their method of teaching, you need not read the book. Margie replied that she had not said that she did not like the book. She wanted to read the book to know about those funny schools.
They had not completed the discussion yet. Her mother called Margie to come home to attend the school. Margie replied that it was not the time for school. Mrs. Jones asked Margie to come immediately. She also said that probably it was the time for school for Tommy also. Margie asked Tommy if she could read the book together with him after the school.
|Dusty||Dirty, Soiled, Ugly,|
|Tucked beneath his arm||Put under his arm|
Tommy casually replied that probable she could. He walked away whistling. The dirty looking book was put under his arm.
Margie entered the schoolroom in her house. This room was next to her bedroom. The mechanical teacher had already switched itself on. It was waiting for her arrival.
It always switched itself on at same time. It remained off on Saturday and Sunday. Her mother believed that learning was better if a student studied at a fixed time every day.
There screen of the teacher was already bright and a message was written on it. The arithmetic lesson of today is about addition of proper fractions. The message advised Margie to put papers of yesterday’s homework in the correct slot.
Margie put her homework in the slit with a big sigh. She started thinking about the old school during the childhood days of grandfather of her grandfather.
All children from the complete nearby locality, came to school. They used to laugh, and shout in the schoolyard. They would sit together in the classroom and return home together at the end of the school.
They were taught the same thing. So they could help each other doing their homework. They could discuss about their homework and their lesson. And the teachers were human beings.
The mechanical teacher was displaying lessons on its screen. Margie was thinking about how much children of earlier days would have liked their school. She was trying to imagine the fun they must have had in the school.
The Road Not Taken
Poet – Robert Frost
|Yellow wood||Trees having yellow leaves|
|Long I stood||I stood for a long time|
|Undergrowth||Plants and shrubs under tress|
The poet is standing at a junction of two roads. Two roads are going in different directions. Leave of trees are yellow, meaning that it is autumn season. Obviously he cannot travel on both roads. So he stood at the junction for a long time. He looked along the road as long as he could see. There were lot of small plants and shrubs below tress.
Poet wants to say that in our life many times we face a situation where we will have two options. We will not be able to select both options. We would spend lot of time in selecting one of the options. We would try to visualize the consequence of selecting each option. But all events of future are not visible to us. Many of these would be hidden under uncertainty.
|Just as Fair||Similar, Equally good|
|Better claim||Better option|
|Grassy||Full of grass|
|Wanted wear||Unused, Without wear and tear|
|About the same||Almost similar|
|Then took the other||Alliteration|
|Because it was grassy and wanted wear||Alliteration|
After some thinking, the poet took one of the roads. Then he observed that the other road was also equally good. After waling for some distance, he thought that the other road was actually better because it still had lot of grass on it. People had not walked on it. But after walking ahead for some more distance, he observed that both the roads were worn to the same extent.
In our life we would make a choice after lot of thinking. After some time we may start feeling that the other option was also good. We may also start thinking that the other option was a better choice. We feel this because less number of people had selected the choice made by us. After some time we may start feeling that both options are equally good. We may feel that both options are full of difficulties.
|Equally lay||Looked similar|
|Yet knowing how way leads on to way||Repetition|
|I doubted if I should ever come back.||Repetition|
That morning each road looked similar. On the leaves spread on the road there were no signs of steps. I thought I would walk on the second road today. Next day I would come back to the junction and start walking on the second path. But he was aware that it would not be possible to leave the path he selected. He will never be able to come back to the starting point.
In our life while making a choice, each option looks good. We are not able to predict the consequence of each choice. Sometimes we feel that if the option selected doe not suit us, we will come back and select the other option. Most of the time life does not allow us this liberty. We can only move forward but can never come back. After getting older, one cannot achieve the youth. Time that has elapsed, is gone forever.
|Hence||After this time, In future|
|I shall be telling this with a sigh||Alliteration|
|Somewhere ages and ages hence||Repetition|
|And that has made all the difference.||Alliteration|
After a long time from now, I would be telling after taking a deep breath that two roads were starting from a junction. These were going into a jungle. I started walking on a road on which less number of people had walked. This choice has made all the difference in my life.
Poet wants to say the consequences of choice that we make is known to us after a long time. At that time we would heave a sigh and talk about options which were available to us. We would talk about the choice that we made. We would say we selected an option that was choice of less number of people. Therefore we could make a difference to our life.