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. Through what nearby country does Cacciato tell Berlin he intends to pass on his way to Paris?

2. In Chapter 25, why is the mountain road particularly bad for a march?

3. What does Paul Berlin end up saying to his parents over the MARS system?

4. What animal were Paul Berlin and his father when they went to Indian Guides camp?

5. When do the the events of Chapter 2 occur in relation to Chapter 1?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what state is Pederson on the day he dies?

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

3. Describe Lieutenant Corson.

4. How do two men from Third Squad die in Chapter 9?

5. How does Sidney Martin aggravate Third Squad in Chapter 25?

6. How does Third Squad end up on a cart with three Vietnamese women in Chapter 6?

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

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

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

10. Why can the Mayor of Ovissil not read Paul Berlin's history?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Three times over the course of the Cacciato pursuit, Third Squad escapes certain death with little or no explanation as to how their salvation came about. Write an essay about these instances and what they say about the nature of the Cacciato war story:

Part 1) What does the Squad discover in the VC tunnels on the Vietnam-Laos border? How does this experience inform Paul Berlin's understanding of the enemy, and how - in the end - does Third Squad escape the tunnels? Where do they emerge?

Part 2) How does Third Squad nearly die in Tehran? What eventually saves them, and to what extent do these rescuing agents seem to appear out of Paul Berlin's mind?

Part 3) Which member of Third Squad disappears when the ocean-liner to Greece is suddenly searched? How do the remaining men manage to escape what seems like an inescapable situation?

Essay Topic 2

There are two Paul Berlins in Going After Cacciato: the weak-willed bad soldier of the real chapters, and the one that presses onward and gets the girl in the Cacciato story. Write an essay comparing these two. How does the protagonist of the novel reinvent himself in half the chapters? How does this reinvention help him deal with his desperate shortcomings in the other half of the novel? TO what extent is the second Paul Berlin a defense for the first?

Essay Topic 3

One recurring theme throughout the full Tim O'Brien cannon is the war story. Write an essay about the idea of the war story and its function in the world of the combat serviceman. How is the war story a form of first-aid to the traumatized soldier? When do the characters in the novel bust out their well-developed war stories? How are war stories that are, perhaps, the least factual also the most truthful? Do they add meaning to the meaningless violence of war?

(see the answer keys)

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