Going After Cacciato Test | Final 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 cause of death does Doc Peret give for Billy Boy Watkins?

2. According to Doc Peret in Chapter 29, what is the root of Lieutenant Corson's illness?

3. Where does the girl say she has contacts that can help the soldiers escape military duty?

4. What principality is Third Squad in at the beginning of Chapter 43?

5. What time is it in Chapter 32?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Buff's body look like when Cacciato finds it in Chapter 41?

2. In Chapter 31, what haunting event happens to Paul Berlin on his first day in the mountains?

3. What lesson does Oscar Johnson declare should be learned from Buff's death?

4. Describe Captain Rhallon.

5. How does Third Squad determine happens to Buff's big gun?

6. Why does the Squad occasionally march down trails likely to be booby trapped?

7. How does Lieutenant Martin precipitate his own murder in Chapter 34?

8. Describe the girl from California in Chapter 40.

9. What does Paul Berlin rationalize is the essential purpose of the Vietnam War at the end of Chapter 40?

10. How does Third Squad escape execution in Chapter 36?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Paul Berlin is clearly a surrogate for Tim O'Brien in Going After Cacciato, developing the narrative as it is happening. Write an essay analyzing the storyteller role of Paul Berlin in the novel. How is Berlin's greatest weakness his tendency to self-mythologize? Is the central narrative of the novel, in fact, a massive self-delusion? In the end, is the creation of this delusion something beautiful, alarming, or both?

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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