Going After Cacciato Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Tim O'Brien
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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. What impeding event occurs as the Third Squad crosses the river into Laos?

2. Why does Sidney Martin take so long to get air support after the tunnel attacks?

3. On the bumpy ride into hot territory in Chapter 20, which Squad member falls to the floor of the Chinook and cannot get up?

4. What name does Sarkin Aung Wan call Paul Berlin?

5. What is Lieutenant Martin's primary concern in Vietnam?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Cacciato toy with the Third Squad in this chapter?

2. Why does the Squad take a vote on whether to continue pursuing Cacciato in Chapter 3?

3. Why does Paul Berlin feel guilty for Frenchie Tucker and Bernie Lynn's deaths?

4. How does Paul Berlin lose Cacciato in Mandalay?

5. What surprise announcement does the Lieutenant make to Third Squad in Chapter 26?

6. How does Paul Berlin succeed in keeping Sarkin Aung Wan with Third Squad?

7. How does the Squad figure out that they are on the same train that Cacciato took?

8. What difficulty arises when Lieutenant Corson tries to leave Li Van Hgoc's tunnel in Chapter 15?

9. How does the quiet of the village in Chapter 16 become insidious?

10. Describe Paul Berlin's call home in Chapter 24.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Choose one member of the Cacciato search party and write an essay analyzing his attitude toward the mission. At any point in the mission, does he grow convinced that Third Squad is deserting? What was his attitude toward Cacciato before Cacciato disappeared into the jungle? How does the mission to Paris change this character's attitude toward the world, the war, and his fellow soldiers?

Essay Topic 2

Going After Cacciato, as a novel, is the dueling of two narratives. One, the story of Cacciato's flight to Paris, is beautiful, meaningful, and false. The other, the story of Sidney Martin's murder, is nihilistic, sad, and sadly factual. It is a war story that cannot be told. Write an essay about the dynamic of between these two stories. Why does one necessitate the creation of the other? Why is the latter entirely unsatisfactory as a story? Does it have any substantive lesson to teach?

Essay Topic 3

In many ways, Going After Cacciato is a rumination on the idea of desertion. Paul Berlin longs to walk away from the war, and his fantasy of Cacciato's flight to Paris offers him a window into a desertion scenario. Write an essay about the agonized decision to desert, focusing on three moments in the novel:

Part 1) Why do the men of Third Squad choose to hold a vote on whether to continue the pursuit after they cross into Laos? What arguments are made, and who among the Squad cannot brook the idea of continuing on?

Part 2) When Third Squad is arrested for desertion in Tehran, how does Doc Peret defend them to Captain Rhallon? Why do they personally believe that they have not abandoned their greater mission?

Part 3) Sum up the Paris debate held between Sarkin Aung Wan and Paul Berlin. How does Paul Berlin defend his decision not to leave Third Squad? What temptation does he overcome?

(see the answer keys)

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