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.


  1. Valentina Diaz
When Max finished describing what he wanted done to his shoes, Feld marked them, both with enormous holes in the soles which he pretended not to notice, with large white-chalk X’s and the rubber heels, thinned to the nails, he marked with O’s, though it troubled him he might have mixed up the letters. Max inquired the price, and the shoemaker cleared his throat and asked the boy, above Sobel’s insistent hammering, would he please step through the side door there into the hall. Though surprised, Max did as the shoemaker requested, and Feld went in after him. For a minute they were both silent, because Sobel had stopped banging, and it seemed they understood neither was to say anything until the noise began again. When it did, loudly, the shoemaker quickly told Max why he had asked to talk to him.


“Ever since you went to high school,” he said, in the dimly lit hallway, “I watched you in the morning go to the subway to school, and I said always to myself, this is a  fine boy that he wants so much an education.”

“Thanks,” Max said, nervously alert. He was tall and grotesquely thin, with sharply cut features, particularly a beak-like nose. He was wearing a loose, long, slushy overcoat that hung down to his ankles, looking like a rug draped over his bony shoulders, and a soggy old brown hat, as battered as the shoes he had brought in.


  1. Maria José Tengonó
 “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.


  1. Mariana Clavijo
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.


  1. Valeria Cifuentes
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.




  1. Daniela Moreno
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.


  1. Gabriela Parra
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.


7 Laura Mendoza

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.


8 Silvana García

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.”


  1. Mariana Ruiz
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.



  1. Mariana Tarazona

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.


  1. Juanita Ramirez
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.


  1. Sara Aguilar
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?”


13 Natalia Garnica

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.


14 Daniela Ramirez

“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.”


15 Isabella Patiño

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.


16 Juanita Guzman

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.


17 Gabriela Gamboa

“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.


Leave a comment


  1. Valeria Cifuentes G

     /  February 7, 2017

    Sobel, Feld´s loyal employee, was a refugee afraid of the world, had been working as Feld´s helper for some time, even though he was not very fairly paid, and Feld felt guilty about it; even though Feld told Sobel he could get a better salary at other place, he didn’t care about the money, but about books.

    • The summary is incomplete because you didn’t include the information about the book lending between Sobel and Myriam and how worried Feld felt about this. You also need to be careful with punctuation because you use the (;) in a wrong way. There’s also a “he” missing in the first line.

      A: 3
      D: 7

  2. Mariana Ruiz Roa

     /  February 10, 2017

    Feld and Miriam have a talk after she returns from her first date with Max, the conclusion of this chat is that Miriam and Max are not meant to be together because they are very different, he only cares about belongings. Still, Feld wanted Max to call and they would try to be together again. This never happened.

    • The summary includes most of the information in the paragraph, but fails to specify important details such us who feels or says what. (e.g. Miriam is the one disappointed, not Max. Feld’s disappointment with the turn of events. Max changing his route.) By the way, the conversation takes place after the second dat, not the first one. The sentence “Still, Feld wanted Max to call and they would try to be together again” has grammar issues.

      A: 5
      D: 6

  3. Gabriela parra

     /  February 10, 2017

    Feld solved Sobel’s problem, he was not very satisfied with the result since he hired a new helper with whom he did not have much confidence, so Feld had to get up very early in the morning to open the door to the business. Feld is not completely unsatisfied since he was always thinking about the relationship between Miriam and Max, they both planned a date on Friday afternoon, Feld preferred Saturday but as long as his daughter had an appointment with Max did not care about the day. Arriving Max at Miriam’s house she took him to the door of her parents’ room and Max greeted the shoemaker and his wife, and although Miriam had worked hard, but she still look so beautiful.

    • A connector like “however” is missing in the third line between the words business and Feld, so the content doesn’t seem contradictory due to the double use of the word “unsatisfied”. The word “he” is missing in line 7. The word “but” in the last line shouldn’t go there because you already said “although”, which is another form to make contrast. The summary is complete and fairly includes the most relevant aspects.

      A: 8
      D: 6

  4. Natalia Garnica

     /  February 11, 2017

    Feld was nervous while talking with Sobel about Miriam, he realized Sobel like Miriam and wanted to be with her eventough he was 35 and she 19 years old. Sobel told the truth to Feld that he had been working for him during 5 years only for Miriam, Feld admit he new that Sobel felt that for her, he felt it and was afraid.

    • The verb “like” in the first line must go in past, as well as the verb “admit” in the last one. There are connectors missing in the last 2 lines in order to create cohesion among the ideas. Watch the word order in the sentence “Sobel told the truth to Feld…”. Even though makes 2 words, not one. Watch the spelling of the word “knew” in line 4. You miss important details about the impact that the news had on Feld and the tension between Sobel and Feld as they discuss the matter.

      A: 5
      D: 3

  5. Gabriela Gamboa

     /  February 11, 2017

    Feld is talking to Soble about Miriam, she is very young to marry him so Feld told Soble to wait until she is 21 to talk to her. Feld arrives the next morning to open the store and Soble was working.

    • Watch the correct spelling of the name “Sobel”. You wrote part of the text in present and part of it in past, why did you make that change? In different tests I have highlighted this aspect for you to be more attentive to the verb tenses that you use when writing. There are important details missing about your paragraph, such us the way Feld was feeling and why Sobel returned to work.

      A: 3
      D: 3

  6. Daniela Moreno

     /  February 11, 2017

    Feld got angry with Sobel beause he broke the last and he left like the time before when Feld had told him to stop giving Myriam so many books, but his wife and Myriam told him to look for him, therefore he went to the rooming house where Sobel was living but according to the lady in the rooming house he wasn´t in there so he didn´t insist, instead, he hired a new assistant.

    • The content included in the summary is complete, you only miss an important aspect which is that Feld considered sending Miriam to persuade Sobel to return to work, but he thought that the mere idea was disgusting; which shows how low class he considers Sobel is.
      You need to pay more attention to the proper us of punctuation, if you notice your entire paragraph only has one period at the very end and that is a mistake because there are other different ideas that needed to be separated.

      A: 7
      D: 6

  7. Silvana García 8C

     /  February 12, 2017

    Miriam and Max were going to have their second date on Saturday and Feld was anxiously waiting for it to arrive, even when he knew that Max was studying to be an accountant (which at first disappointed him but now he knew that accountancy was a respected profession). He waited for Miriam to arrive and he asked her if she had enjoyed herself. Miriam´s answer was disappointing: “I was bored.”

    • Excellent use of language and punctuation. Your summary is good as well, it only lacks some details about Feld trying to avoid asking Miriam about his date, but how he couldn’t help it since she didn’t seem willing to share anything.

      A: 7
      D: 8

  8. Daniela Ramirez

     /  February 12, 2017

    Feld asked Sobel if Miriam knew of the feelings he had for her, to which the assistant replied that she knew despite the fact that he’d never directly told her. Feld came to the conclusion that in some way Sobel had let Miriam know through the books he lent her and the commentary that came with them. Angry, Feld told Sobel that he was crazy and that Miriam would never marry a man like him.

  9. María José Tengonó

     /  February 12, 2017

    At the shoe shop Feld talked to Max about his idea of him and his daughter going out. Feld described Miriam and Max asked for a picture then he agreed to meet her anytime . Feld gave him his phone number and told him Miriam got home by six o’clock. Finally Max inquired about the price of the shoes.

    • The content in the summary is ok, although you could have included more details about how keen Feld was describing all his daughter’s virtues and how he decided not not charge the regular price for the shoes repair. There is is a comma missing in the second line.

      A: 6
      D: 7

  10. Feld entered to Sobel´s room, although he knew that it would be bad for him. His room was very small, you could notice that it belonged to a poor and humble man. When Feld saw all of Sobel´s books lying on the floor he could not stop thinking how weird Sobel was, to be uneducated and read so much. He had once asked him, but he never answered, which proved he read so much because he was queer.

  11. marianaclavijo

     /  February 12, 2017

    Mariana Clavijo.
    In one point of the story, Feld came in the store and he saw his assistant, Sobel hit a metal object with a lot of force, he seemed mad.

    Sobel saved the business in one point, where the shoe store seemed ruined, Sobel with his deep sad blue eyes and requested a job in the store, he was tired and his eyes seemed red because of the excessive reading, he was a fugitive and was desperate for an income. Feld needed a trust person because he was overwhelmed with duties at the store and he knew Sobel was trustable.

  12. Isabella Patiño

     /  February 12, 2017

    Feld saw Sobel and he was angry with him, he was very surprised that a refugee could fall in love after all he has going through, and he was so in love with Miriam the he waited 5 years to become Miriam a woman.

  13. Mariana Tarazona

     /  February 12, 2017

    Max went to pick up his shoes at feld’s shop but they never talked about Miriam. That day he found out that his new assistant was stealing from him and he had a heart attack. He wanted do bring sober back to work because he was the only Pearson he could trust. Miriam said that she would go but finally feld went alone to convince sobek to go back.

  14. Juanita Guzman

     /  February 12, 2017

    In this part of the story, Feld went to Sobel’s house to asked him if he could go back to the shoe shop. Then, when Sobel told him about the feeling he had against Miriam, Feld started to think about Miriam’s life with Sobel. He was doubting if Miriam’s life would be great with a shoemaker as her husband. And in that part is when he called ugly to her life sharing it with Sobel.

  15. Laura Mendoza

     /  February 12, 2017

    The paragraph talks about how Miriam’s and Max’s date went, this happens when she comes back home from a walk with Max. She can see how Feld, his father is disappointed at her short replies and lack of interest in Max so she tells him that she’s seeing him again on Saturday.

  16. Valentina Díaz

     /  February 13, 2017

    Max went to the store to fix some shoes, and Feld the store owner takes care of it and then takes hin into a hallway to tell him that he always admire him and that he wants have a date wis his daughter Mirian.

  17. Sara Aguilar España

     /  February 13, 2017

    Feld went to visit Sobel. Sobel had another countenance. Feld asked him if he will return to work, Feld said that he can give him better conditions, like raise his wages. He answered that he doesn’t care about that. Feld seemed to be confused, he doesn’t understand why Sobel had that attitude. Sobel made him understand by asking him why does he present Miriam other men if he is available and a trustful man.


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