When Tommy finds an old book, printed on paper, in his attic, it functions as a foil for Margie's imagination. The object itself is “a dusty old book,” with “yellow and crinkly” pages. The children can't believe that “when they turned to the page before, it had the same words on it that it had had when they read it the first time.” Thus the narrator depicts the book as a curious relic of the past, an object that is unfamiliar to Margie and thus destabilizes her sense of normalcy.
The Old Schools
Margie's imagination is captured by what Tommy tells her about the schools of her great-grandparents' era. She pictures these schools as exciting centers of community for children of that era, imagining that “all the kids from the whole neighborhood" would have been able to come together to play, which is unlike her current education, where she learns alone. She also imagines that these children would have had a lot of fun together, "laughing and shouting in the schoolyard, sitting together in the schoolroom, and going home together at the end of the day.”
The Mechanical Teacher
According to the narrator, who describes the world as Margie sees it, the mechanical teacher is “large and black and ugly with a big screen.” The teacher also contains a slot in which Margie drops her homework and tests. The mechanical teacher's screen lights up with lessons, even "flashing" to catch Margie's attention. In short, the narrator's descriptions serve to highlight that there is nothing humanizing about the mechanical teacher.
The Fun They Had Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Fun They Had is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.