They turned the pages, which were yellow and crinkly, and it was awfully funny to read words that stood still instead of moving the way they were supposed to—on a screen, you know.
In this quote, the narrator describes Margie's bemused reaction to Tommy's exciting discovery: a book printed on paper. This book, indicative of the way things used to be, seems strange and unfamiliar to Margie. It paints the world of her great-grandparents' generation in stark contrast to Margie's contemporary world.
Margie was thinking about how the kids must have loved it in the old days. She was thinking about the fun they had.
Bored by the fractions lesson of her mechanical teacher, Margie begins to daydream about the schools of the past. She imagines a happy, community-minded education, where children learn and play together in a school. This quote ends the story on an ironic note. In romanticizing the past, Margie misses the reality that Asimov's readers understand: school was dreaded equally by the children of the past as it is by Margie's generation.
She was thinking about the old schools they had when her grandfather's grandfather was a little boy. All the kids from the whole neighborhood came, laughing and shouting in the schoolyard, sitting together in the schoolroom, going home together at the end of the day. They learned the same things so they could help one another on the homework and talk about it.
And the teachers were people...
This quote illustrates the depth of Margie's nostalgia for a time she has never experienced in person. Her knowledge of school centuries ago comes from the memories passed down from her grandfather's grandfather, but it is also embellished by the tidbits shared by her older friend, Tommy. The quote also demonstrates Margie's capacity for daydreaming during her boring lessons with the mechanical teacher. She imagines these scenes, joyful and pleasant in mood, during a math lesson. There is no starker contrast to these dreams than the reality of her own education.
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.