Report from Engine Co. 82 Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Dennis Smith (firefighter)
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why did the men take turns manning the hose while battling the apartment building fire in Chapter 5?

2. Why did Smith want to re-read the Yeats poem about wise men becoming tense with violence before they can accomplish fate?

3. In what town did Smith live while working in the South Bronx?

4. In which city did Smith serve?

5. To which kind of call was the firefighter responding when he was killed, prior to the events in Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did the firemen tease Billy Valenzio about his strength?

2. Why do you think Dennis Smith found the act of writing the book as exciting as responding to fire calls?

3. What did the South Bronx neighbors do in an attempt to stop malicious false alarms from the Hoe Avenue alarm box and was it effective?

4. Describe Fireman Jim Gintel's personality.

5. During a raging fire, Smith imagines neighbors serving coffee and food to the firefighters. Why does he think this is an impossibility in New York City?

6. Why was Smith reminded of the sun when he entered the burning room on Forest Avenue in Chapter 5?

7. Why does Smith tell his mother that he feels compelled to continue working in the dangerous South Bronx neighborhood?

8. How did Dennis Smith get started on writing Report From Engine Co. 82?

9. Explain why the landlord of the Intervale Avenue apartment building wanted the place torched.

10. What did Katherine Anne Porter mean by "a book will find its author" and how did that apply to Dennis Smith?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Smith continued to work in the South Bronx despite the dangers and despite the fact that moving to another neighborhood would still allow him to serve as a firefighter, but in a safer environment. What compels some people to risk their lives for little or nothing in return? Are some people born with a unique sense of compassion and generosity or can this be cultivated in anyone? What kind of intangible rewards did Smith get from serving the South Bronx that he may not have gotten from serving, say, the Upper East Side?

Essay Topic 2

There were several incidents in the book in which firefighters were attacked by the very neighbors they were trying to help. The book took place at a time in which young people were questioning all authority, especially that of police. Why were firefighters seen as authority figures not to be trusted? Did Smith view this as a logical view of firemen or as a confusing result of desperate poverty?

Essay Topic 3

Fire departments in the United States are traditionally overwhelmingly white--Smith himself came from an Irish background and many of his fellow firemen are Irish or Italian. How did that situation arise? Does the tradition of family members following one another into the field explain it? In what ways have fire departments attempted to diversify in recent years, and have those efforts been successful? Are there specific ways you can think of that would help diversify fire departments?

(see the answer keys)

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