Books Available Now!

thefireescapev1

thefireescapev2

thefireescapebelongsinbrooklyn

Join the Mailing List

Name*
Please type your full name.
E-mail*
Invalid email address.
Invalid Input

Discussion Guide: The Fire Escape Stories, Volumes I&II

It is always my honor to discuss my work with book groups. I am frequently asked if there are certain questions and/or topics that the group members should consider in advance of our session. Following is a guide that I have developed after the many discussion sessions I have led. I hope you find it helpful in your conversations! If you would like permission to distribute hard copies or digital copies of this guide, or if you would like to arrange for a book group discussion, please simply email me at chuckwrites@hyahoo.com. Thank you...and enjoy reading!--Chuck

 

DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR—

THE FIRE ESCAPE STORIES, VOLUMES I & II

By Chuck Cascio

1) What does the opening episode of Volume I imply beyond what is stated in the text?

2) Have you ever sat on a fire escape? What did it feel like to you? What did you do there? If you have not ever sat on a fire escape, based on Volumes I&II what is the closest comparison you can make from your own life?

3) What does the fire escape symbolize in these stories? Does the symbol change over time? If so, what does it come to symbolize?

4) Describe how you picture the main characters--the narrator (Mikey), Sally-Boy, Big Sal, Massimo, and any others who stand out to you.

5) Single out one secondary character whose role seems particularly significant in her/his impact on the boys' lives.

 

nine episodes that make up Mike Burnss strongest childhood memories of living in Brooklyn New York in the 1950s. 2 2

 

6) When Mike's family moves at the end of Volume I, what concerns for him  and expectations do you have of him as the family drives out of Brooklyn?

7) How does the tone of the narration change in Volume II and what is the impact of that change on the reader?

8) What does the narrator's reaction to various life events in Volume II such as racism, discovering that his neighbor is a female, seeing the increasing popularity of the Panificio and Sally-Boy's reaction to it, the JFK assassination, etc. affect you as the reader? How do those events seem to be shaping Mike's life?

9) Identify at least three subtle events and/or passages that are most telling about the split occurring between the lives of the two boys.

10) Has the fire escape saved anyone in these stories, symbolically or otherwise? Or does the fire escape imply the failure of attempts to save lives that are impacted by forces either outside of their control or forces that people refuse to accept?

Copyright, Chuck Cascio, all rights reserved. For permission to make or distribute copies of this guide, please email chuckwrites@yahoo.com.