Hello dear grade 8 students,

Here are the the first sentences which summarize the first paragraph of “The First Seven Years”

Feld, a Polish shoemaker, wishes his daughter had been a man and perhaps were as Max, the studious boy who he frequently sees pass by. 

Miriam was the shoemaker’s daughter who loved reading the classics and didn’t want to go to college, but find a job and be independent.

Sobel the shoemaker’s helper loved to read the classics and lent these books to Miriam.

You will have to add the sentence or sentences that you and your group created for the following paragraphs or create a new one using the GIST strategy explained and worked in class.

Valentina Cortés

 “I am a businessman,” the shoemaker abruptly said to conceal his embarrassment, “so I will explain you right away why I talk to you. I have a girl, my daughter Miriam—she is nineteen—a very nice girl and also so pretty that everybody looks on her when she passes by in the street. She is smart, al- ways with a book, and I thought to myself that a boy like you, an educated boy—I thought maybe you will be interested sometime to meet a girl like this.” He laughed a bit when he had finished and was tempted to say more but had the good sense not to.

Max stared down like a hawk. For an uncomfortable second he was silent, then he asked, “Did you say nineteen?”


“Would it be all right to inquire if you have a picture of her?”

“Just a minute.” The shoemaker went into the store and hastily returned with a snapshot that Max held up to the light.

“She’s all right,” he said.

Feld waited.

“And is she sensible—not the flighty kind?”

“She is very sensible.”

After another short pause, Max said it was okay with him if

he met her.

“Here is my telephone,” said the shoemaker, hurriedly

handing him a slip of paper. “Call her up. She comes home from work six o’clock.”

Max folded the paper and tucked it away into his worn leather wallet.

“About the shoes,” he said. “How much did you say they will cost me?”

“Don’t worry about the price.”

“I just like to have an idea.”

“A dollar—dollar fifty. A dollar fifty,” the shoemaker said. At once he felt bad, for he usually charged $2.25 for this kind

of job. Either he should have asked the regular price or done the work for nothing.

Mariana Guerrero

Later, as he entered the store, he was startled by a violent clanging and looked up to see Sobel pounding upon the naked last. It broke, the iron striking the floor and jumping with a thump against the wall, but before the enraged shoemaker could cry out, the assistant had torn his hat and coat o  the hook and rushed out into the snow.

So Feld, who had looked forward to anticipating how it would go with his daughter and Max, instead had a great worry on his mind. Without his temperamental helper he was a lost man, especially as it was years now since he had carried the store alone. The shoemaker had for an age suffered from a heart condition that threatened collapse if he dared exert himself. Five years ago, after an attack, it had appeared as though he would have either to sacrifice his business on the auction block and live on a pittance thereafter, or put himself at the mercy of some unscrupulous employee who would in the end probably ruin him. But just at the moment of his darkest despair, this Polish refugee, Sobel, had appeared one night out of the street and begged for work. He was a stocky man, poorly dressed, with a bald head that had once been blond, a severely plain face, and soft blue eyes prone to tears over the sad books he read, a young man but old—no one would have guessed thirty. Though he confessed he knew nothing of shoemaking, he said he was apt and would work for very little if Feld taught him the trade. Thinking that with, after all, a landsman, he would have less to fear than from a complete stranger, Feld took him on and within six weeks the refugee rebuilt as good a shoe as he, and not long thereafter expertly ran the business for the thoroughly relieved shoemaker.

Catalina Esparza

Feld could trust him with anything and did, frequently going home after an hour or two at the store, leaving all the money in the till, knowing Sobel would guard every cent of it. The amazing thing was that he demanded so little. His wants were few; in money he wasn’t interested—in nothing but books, it seemed—which he one by one lent to Miriam, together with his profuse, queer written comments, manufactured during his lonely rooming house evenings, thick pads of commentary which the shoemaker peered at and twitched his shoulders over as his daughter, from her fourteenth year, read page by sanctified page, as if the word of God were inscribed on them. To protect Sobel, Feld himself had to see that he received more than he asked for. Yet his conscience bothered him for not insisting that the assistant accept a better wage than he was getting, though Feld had honestly told him he could earn a handsome salary if he worked elsewhere, or maybe opened a place of his own. But the assistant answered, some- what ungraciously, that he was not interested in going else- where, and though Feld frequently asked himself, What keeps him here? why does he stay? he finally answered it that the man, no doubt because of his terrible experiences as a refugee, was afraid of the world.

Maria Paula Diaz

After the incident with the broken last, angered by Sobel’s behavior, the shoemaker decided to let him stew for a week in the rooming house, although his own strength was taxed dangerously and the business suffered. However, after several sharp nagging warnings from both his wife and daughter, he went finally in search of Sobel, as he had once before, quite recently, when over some fancied slight—Feld had merely asked him not to give Miriam so many books to read because her eyes were strained and red—the assistant had left the place in a huff , an incident which, as usual, came to nothing, for he had returned after the shoemaker had talked to him, and taken his seat at the bench. But this time, after Feld had plodded through the snow to Sobel’s house—he had thought of sending Miriam but the idea became repugnant to him—the burly landlady at the door informed him in a nasal voice that Sobel was not at home, and though Feld knew this was a nasty lie, for where had the refugee to go? still for some reason he was not completely sure of—it may have been the cold and his fatigue—he decided not to insist on seeing him. Instead he went home and hired a new helper.

Juliana Delgadillo

Thus he settled the matter, though not entirely to his satisfaction, for he had much more to do than before, and so, for example, could no longer lie late in bed mornings because he had to get up to open the store for the new assistant, a speech- less, dark man with an irritating rasp as he worked, whom he would not trust with the key as he had Sobel. Furthermore, this one, though able to do a fair repair job, knew nothing of grades of leather or prices, so Feld had to make his own purchases; and every night at closing time it was necessary to count the money in the till and lock up. However, he was not dissatisfied, for he lived much in his thoughts of Max and Miriam. The college boy had called her, and they had arranged a meeting for this coming Friday night. The shoemaker would personally have preferred Saturday, which he felt would make it a date of the first magnitude, but he learned Friday was Miriam’s choice, so he said nothing. The day of the week did not matter. What mattered was the aftermath. Would they like each other and want to be friends? He sighed at all the time that would have to go by before he knew for sure. Often he was tempted to talk to Miriam about the boy, to ask whether she thought she would like his type—he had told her only that he considered Max a nice boy and had suggested he call her— but the one time he tried she snapped at him—justly—how should she know?

At last Friday came. Feld was not feeling particularly well so he stayed in bed, and Mrs. Feld thought it better to remain in the bedroom with him when Max called. Miriam received the boy, and her parents could hear their voices, his throaty one, as they talked. Just before leaving, Miriam brought Max to the bedroom door and he stood there a minute, a tall, slightly hunched  figure wearing a thick, droopy suit, and apparently at ease as he greeted the shoemaker and his wife, which was surely a good sign. And Miriam, although she had worked all day, looked fresh and pretty. She was a large-framed girl with a well-shaped body, and she had a fine open face and soft hair. They made, Feld thought, a first-class couple.

Helena Galindo

Miriam returned after 11:30. Her mother was already asleep, but the shoemaker got out of bed and after locating his bath- robe went into the kitchen, where Miriam, to his surprise, sat at the table, reading.

“So where did you go?” Feld asked pleasantly.

“For a walk,” she said, not looking up.

“I advised him,” Feld said, clearing his throat, “he shouldn’t

spend so much money.”

“I didn’t care.”

The shoemaker boiled up some water for tea and sat down

at the table with a cupful and a thick slice of lemon. “So how,” he sighed after a sip, “did you enjoy?”

“It was all right.”

He was silent. She must have sensed his disappointment, for she added, “You can’t really tell much the first time.”

“You will see him again?”

Turning a page, she said that Max had asked for another date.

“For when?”


“So what did you say?”

“What did I say?” she asked, delaying for a moment—“I

said yes.”

Afterwards she inquired about Sobel, and Feld, without exactly knowing why, said the assistant had got another job. Miriam said nothing more and went on reading. The shoe- maker’s conscience did not trouble him; he was satisfied with the Saturday date.

Vanessa Torres

During the week, by placing here and there a deft question, he managed to get from Miriam some information about Max. It surprised him to learn that the boy was not studying to be either a doctor or lawyer but was taking a business course leading to a degree in accountancy. Feld was a little disappointed because he thought of accountants as bookkeepers and would have preferred “a higher profession.” However, it was not long before he had investigated the subject and discovered that Certified Public Accountants were highly respected people, so he was thoroughly content as Saturday approached. But because Saturday was a busy day, he was much in the store and therefore did not see Max when he came to call for Miriam. From his wife he learned there had been nothing especially revealing about their greeting. Max had rung the bell and Miriam had got her coat and left with him—nothing more. Feld did not probe, for his wife was not particularly observant. Instead, he waited up for Miriam with a newspaper on his lap, which he scarcely looked at so lost was he in thinking of the future. He awoke to  find her in the room with him, tiredly removing her hat. Greeting her, he was suddenly inexplicably afraid to ask anything about the eve- ning. But since she volunteered nothing he was at last forced to inquire how she had enjoyed herself. Miriam began something noncommittal, but apparently changed her mind, for she said after a minute, “I was bored.”

Gabriela Muñoz

When Feld had sufficiently recovered from his anguished disappointment to ask why, she answered without hesitation, “Because he’s nothing more than a materialist.”

“What means this word?”

“He has no soul. He’s only interested in things.”

He considered her statement for a long time, then asked,

“Will you see him again?” “He didn’t ask.”

“Suppose he will ask you?” “I won’t see him.”

He did not argue; however, as the days went by he hoped increasingly she would change her mind. He wished the boy would telephone, because he was sure there was more to him than Miriam, with her inexperienced eye, could discern. But Max didn’t call. As a matter of fact he took a different route to school, no longer passing the shoemaker’s store, and Feld was deeply hurt.

Isabela Posada

Then one afternoon Max came in and asked for his shoes. The shoemaker took them down from the shelf where he had placed them, apart from the other pairs. He had done the work himself and the soles and heels were well built and firm. The shoes had been highly polished and somehow looked better than new. Max’s Adam’s apple went up once when he saw them, and his eyes had little lights in them.

“How much?” he asked, without directly looking at the shoemaker.

“Like I told you before,” Feld answered sadly. “One dollar fifty cents.”

Max handed him two crumpled bills and received in return a newly minted silver half dollar.

He left. Miriam had not been mentioned. That night the shoemaker discovered that his new assistant had been all the while stealing from him, and he suffered a heart attack.

Though the attack was very mild, he lay in bed for three weeks. Miriam spoke of going for Sobel, but sick as he was Feld rose in wrath against the idea. Yet in his heart he knew there was no other way, and the first weary day back in the shop thoroughly convinced him, so that night after supper he dragged himself to Sobel’s rooming house.

Maria Paula Fajardo

He toiled up the stairs, though he knew it was bad for him, and at the top knocked at the door. Sobel opened it and the shoemaker entered. The room was a small, poor one, with a single window facing the street. It contained a narrow cot, a low table, and several stacks of books piled haphazardly around on the floor along the wall, which made him think how queer Sobel was, to be uneducated and read so much. He had once asked him, Sobel, why you read so much? and the assistant could not answer him. Did you ever study in a college some- place? he had asked, but Sobel shook his head. He read, he said, to know. But to know what, the shoemaker demanded, and to know, why? Sobel never explained, which proved he read so much because he was queer.

Ana Sofía Morales

Feld sat down to recover his breath. The assistant was resting on his bed with his heavy back to the wall. His shirt and trousers were clean, and his stubby fingers, away from the shoemaker’s bench, were strangely pallid. His face was thin and pale, as if he had been shut in this room since the day he had bolted from the store.

“So when you will come back to work?” Feld asked him. To his surprise, Sobel burst out, “Never.”

Jumping up, he strode over to the window that looked out

upon the miserable street. “Why should I come back?” he cried. “I will raise your wages.”

“Who cares for your wages!”

The shoemaker, knowing he didn’t care, was at a loss what

else to say.

“What do you want from me, Sobel?”


“I always treated you like you was my son.”

Sobel vehemently denied it. “So why you look for strange

boys in the street they should go out with Miriam? Why you don’t think of me?”

Isabela Beninati

The shoemaker’s hands and feet turned freezing cold. His voice became so hoarse he couldn’t speak. At last he cleared his throat and croaked, “So what has my daughter got to do with a shoemaker thirty-five years old who works for me?”

“Why do you think I worked so long for you?” Sobel cried out. “For the stingy wages I sacrificed five years of my life so you could have to eat and drink and where to sleep?”

“Then for what?” shouted the shoemaker.

“For Miriam,” he blurted—“for her.”

The shoemaker, after a time, managed to say, “I pay wages

in cash, Sobel,” and lapsed into silence. Though he was seething with excitement, his mind was coldly clear, and he had to admit to himself he had sensed all along that Sobel felt this way. He had never so much as thought it consciously, but he had felt it and was afraid.

Sofia Diaz

“Miriam knows?” he muttered hoarsely. “She knows.”

“You told her?”


“Then how does she know?”

“How does she know?” Sobel said. “Because she knows. She knows who I am and what is in my heart.”

Feld had a sudden insight. In some devious way, with his books and commentary, Sobel had given Miriam to understand that he loved her. The shoemaker felt a terrible anger at him for his deceit.

“Sobel, you are crazy,” he said bitterly. “She will never marry a man so old and ugly like you.”

Maria Jose Jimenez

Watching him, the shoemaker’s anger diminished. His teeth were on edge with pity for the man, and his eyes grew moist. How strange and sad that a refugee, a grown man, bald and old with his miseries, who had by the skin of his teeth escaped Hitler’s incinerators, should fall in love, when he had got to America, with a girl less than half his age. Day after day, for five years he had sat at his bench, cutting and hammering away, waiting for the girl to become a woman, unable to ease his heart with speech, knowing no protest but desperation.

“Ugly I didn’t mean,” he said half aloud.

Yuliana Carrilo

Then he realized that what he had called ugly was not Sobel but Miriam’s life if she married him. He felt for his daughter a strange and gripping sorrow, as if she were already Sobel’s bride, the wife, after all, of a shoemaker, and had in her life no more than her mother had had. And all his dreams for her— why he had slaved and destroyed his heart with anxiety and labor—all these dreams of a better life were dead.

The room was quiet. Sobel was standing by the window reading, and it was curious that when he read he looked young.

Andrea Pedraza

“She is only nineteen,” Feld said brokenly. “This is too young yet to get married. Don’t ask her for two years more, till

she is twenty-one, then you can talk to her.”

Sobel didn’t answer. Feld rose and left. He went slowly

down the stairs but once outside, though it was an icy night and the crisp falling snow whitened the street, he walked with a stronger stride.

But the next morning, when the shoemaker arrived, heavy- hearted, to open the store, he saw he needn’t have come, for his assistant was already seated at the last, pounding leather for his love.

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  1. Feld is at Sobel´s house telling him, when is he going back to work, but Sobel answers he is never going back because he never thought about him as an option that could go out with Miriam.

  2. Maria Paula Fajardo

     /  February 5, 2017

    Feld entered to Sobel´s room noticing how weird Sobel was, his room was small with a few things. He was poor; probably uneducated but still he read tons of books everyday and always avoided talking about his education.

    • You did an adequate analysis though there is an imprecision. You say he was “probably uneducated” but it is clearly told that he didn’t attend college.

      Analyzing 7
      Using language 8

  3. Mariana Guerrero

     /  February 5, 2017

    Sobel broke the last and run away, but Feld needed him because he had a heart condition and Sobel already knew how to manage the place, he learned in 6 weeks when he arrived to the store looking for a job because he was a polish refugee.

    • You provide the synthesis but it is a bit confusing. The main point is that Feld had hired Sobel five years before and had helped Feld making his job easier as he learned really quickly.

      Analyzing 5
      Using language 7

  4. María José Jiménez Gamboa

     /  February 5, 2017

    The shoemaker was so angry with Soebel, he couldn´t believe that a man like him could fall in love with a girl so young and wait until she was a woman to talk to her about her feelings.

    • You misinterpreted the fragment. It tells Feld felt sorry for Sobel in his coming after the war and falling in love with his daughter. In fact he was less angry and regretted his calling him ugly.

      Analyzing 3
      Using Language 8

  5. Helena Galindo

     /  February 5, 2017

    Helena Galindo

    Miriam arrived to her house after a date with Max. The shoemaker and Miriam had a conversation about the date and Miriam told him that Max had asked for another date on Saturday and that she said yes. Feld was happy that they will see each other again.

    • You make an adequate analysis. Just a couple of precisions with language.

      Miriam arrived to her house after a date with Max. The shoemaker and Miriam had a conversation about the date and Miriam told him that Max had asked for another date on Saturday and that she had agreed. Feld was happy that they would see each other again.

      Analyzing 8
      Using language 7

  6. Sofia Diaz

     /  February 5, 2017

    Feld went to Sobels house to ask if he could replace the other assistant for a few weeks. After admiting that he had feelings for Miriam, they had a conversation in which Sobel explains that eventhough he had never told her about his love, she knew what was in his heart. Finally, Feld says Miriam would never love a guy like Sobel. Sofia Diaz

  7. Vanessa Torres

     /  February 5, 2017

    Feld discovered that Max was studying in college to be a certified public accountant. He first was disappointed but then he understood accountants were honorable people. After Miriam got out with Max on Saturday, she told Feld she was bored with Max.

  8. yuliana carrillo

     /  February 5, 2017

    Miriam was going to marry sobel, that maid feld feel sorrow because he thought that she was going to have the same life as her mother had and he wanted a better future for her.

    • Your synthesis is mostly complete though there are a few mistakes. You also missed to tell that Sobel seemed younger when he read. Proper names are always capitalized. Also, the verb “feel” should be in past, “felt”.

      Analyzing 6
      Using language 5

  9. Maria Andrea Pedraza Sabogal

     /  February 5, 2017

    Feld said Sobel, he could ask Miriam to marry him only after two years, because she’s very young. Sobel didn’t answer and Feld left. Next morning, Feld saw Sobel seated and pounding leather for his love.

    • Correct synthesis. Some language mistakes though. Feld “told” Sobel. …because she “was” very young. …”The” next morning…

      Analysis 8
      Using language 6

  10. Juliana Delgadillo Cheyne

     /  February 5, 2017

    Feld is stressed because of the new assistant in whom he does not trust,
    however is happy because his daughter is going out with Max on Friday night.

    • Your synthesis is correct but incomplete. You missed to tell that Max came home and said hi to Feld and his wife and that Feld thought they made a first class couple.

      Analyzing 6
      Using language 8

  11. The first seven years
    Feld talks to Max about his daughter so he wants to meet her and go on a date with her. Feld gave Max his phone number so he could call Miriam. Then when Max asked for the price for fixing the shoes Feld made him a discount.

    • Correct synthesis though confusing in one part, where you say “so he wants to meet her and go on a date with her. Maybe you mean “because he wants Max to go out with her

      Analyzing 7
      Using language 6

  12. gabriela muñoz

     /  February 7, 2017

    Max hurts feld because he didn´t pass again through the shoemaker´s store, because he find another way, to go to school. also miriam said that Max was materialist and that she won’t see him again

    • The synthesis is correct, but you inverted the order of events. Also there are a few language mistakes.

      It should be:

      Miriam said that Max was a materialist and that she wouldn’t see him again. Max hurts Feld because he didn´t pass again by the shoemaker´s store, because he found another way, to go to school.

      Analyzing 7
      Using language 5

  13. Isabella Beninati

     /  February 7, 2017

    Feld was scared because the man who work for him is interested in his daughter. Sobel admitted that he had feelings for Miriam and he only worked that five years for her.

    • Good try but there are some imprecisions. For example, Feld was not scared. He was shocked to know or to confirm his fear that Sobel was in love with his daughter. It is confusing that you tell “the man that worked for him” because it seems as if you were talking about another man, but in fact it is Sobel. Your sentence “he only worked that five years” should be he only worked those five years

      Analyzing 6
      Using language 6

  14. Isabela Posada

     /  February 7, 2017

    Max went to claim his shoes, and didn´t cross a word with Feld; Feld realized that his assistant steal from him and Miriam propose him to work again with Sobel after Feld suffered a heart attack.

    • Good try Isa. However, there is one part that can be a bit confusing. It seems as if you were saying that Miriam proposed Max to work in Feld’s shop. It is important to say that Feld discovered the new assistant was stealing money from him and that this caused his heart attack which consequently made him realize he had to look for Sobel.

      Analyzing 6
      Using language 7

  15. Catalina Esparza Infante

     /  February 7, 2017

    Feld trusted Sobel with his eyes closed, he knew he could live all the money in the store and Sobel will not take it. But what Feld like the most about Sobel was that he didn´t ask for much, he just read his classics and worked, he didn´t want to look for better job because he was afraid of the world as his experiences of refugee , so Feld was conscious that he had to take care of Sobel.

    • Your synthesis is correct though there are some corrections and clarifications to make.

      Feld trusted Sobel with his eyes closed, he knew he could leave all the money in the store and Sobel would not take it. But what Feld like the most about Sobel was that he didn´t ask for much, he just read his classics and worked, he didn´t want to look for a better job because he was afraid of the world as his experiences of refugee.

      Also, the fragment does not tell Feld had to take care of Sobel

      Analyzing 7
      Using language 7

  16. María Paula Díaz

     /  February 7, 2017

    1-After Sobel broke the last, Feld let him stew for some days. Then, after a week, he went looking for him to his house where he was told Sobel wasn´t there.
    2-Eventhough Feld knew that the lady at the door was lying to him, he decided not to insist on seeing Sobel, went home, and hired a new helper.
    3-This wasnt the first time Sobel left the store like this, he did before when Feld asked him not to lend Miriam so many books. Just that the other time , when Feld went to look for him, he did return


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