Although school is a mean place, Francie still enjoys it, especially because of twoteachers, who each come once a week: Mr. Morton, who teaches music, and Miss Bernstone, whoteaches drawing. All the teachers dress nicely the days Mr. Morton comes; he is a jolly man who made good music fun and accessible. The teachers are all jealous of Mrs.Bernstone, who is beautiful and does not spend all her nights alone. Both these teacherslove the poor, unwashed children better than the cared-for ones. The narrato r says schoolwould have been pure heaven if all teachers were like these two.
Francie learns to read. She all at once sees words on the page, instead of just sounds, anddecides she will read a book a day as long as she lives. Francie also makes a game out ofarithmetic, imagining each number as a member of a family. The numbers th at are theeasiest in terms of arithmetic are the nice family members. When she has a number with manydigits, she imagines those family members together. In this way, Francie puts arithmeticinto human terms.
Francie goes out walking one fall day, and ends up in a beautiful neighborhood with no tenements. Eventually, she happens upon a school, made of old brick, with grass and a field across from it. She decides that this is the school she wants to go to, and
waits for her father to get home to ask him about it. He promises to go with her to see it the next day.
This unfamiliar neighborhood is filled with families who have lived in America for five and six generations, unlike Francie's neighborhood, in which few people can say that they themselves were born in the United States. Francie's teacher at one point ask
ed the children their lineage. Francie impressed the whole class, as she was the only one whose parents were not born in another country.
-owns a cheap, dry-goods store
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