Study Guide: Listening Is an Act of Love

B. Reading the Stories

3. Pump operators RUFUS BURKHALTER and BOBBY BROWN talk to each other

Pre-reading statement of opinion:   Do you agree that in an emergency most people rise to the occasion and do their best to realize the most positive outcome?  Why or why not?

Post-reading guided summary:  Explain what responsibility Rufus and Bobby had as pump operators in New Orleans.  Consider why they always needed to be “Johnny-on-the-spot” (228) in the event of a hurricane.  Share why they had to “go into survival mode” rather than “panic” (230).  Describe what Rufus and Bobby saw and tell why the event “took a toll” (231) on Rufus.  Comment on Bobby’s reaction to Rufus’s statement.  Evaluate the kind of dedication and responsibility that both Rufus and Bobby demonstrated, and explain why Rufus believes the event will “linger” (231) in his mind for the rest of his life.

Personal response:  Write your reaction to one or two aspects of the summary you have written, and try to connect this response to the opinion that you expressed before reading the StoryCorps transcript.