The Lotus Eaters: A Novel Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Tatjana Soli
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 135 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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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 does a soldier say about the Vietnamese and life?

2. What did Linh do before he was drafted into the army?

3. Why is Helen rushing to meet Robert?

4. How did Helen get into the field without Darrow?

5. What does Helen think she needs to do if she is going to survive Vietnam?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Helen feel about her relationship with Darrow and how does Darrow feel about it?

2. Why does Darrow worry about Helen?

3. What does Helen do with her bags in the motel and why does she do it?

4. Who does Helen meet at the river and what do they discuss?

5. What have Helen and Linh been doing for three years and why?

6. How does Helen finally get to be seen like one of the boys?

7. What happens and who does Helen meet the first time she goes into the field with Darrow?

8. What happens when Helen and Linh arrive at the embassy?

9. How did Linh end up working for Sam Darrow?

10. Why is Helen stopped on the street and what happens when she is stopped?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Marriage seems unavoidable for Helen and Linh. While Helen wants only a simple civil ceremony, Linh insists on a Buddhist ceremony. They can have a civil ceremony in Saigon if Helen wishes but it is important to Linh to marry in a traditional way. Despite the times, Helen is equally traditional and is grateful that she never shared her apartment with another man.

The story returns to the fall of Saigon and the exit of Helen, Tanner, Matt, and other foreign correspondents. Soli adds in some mysticism. Someone gives Helen a Buddhist coin which she takes with her to Cambodia. When Helen's convoy is hit, it is unclear what has happened or how, who is injured or dead. It seems that clutching the coin in her mouth has somehow saved Helen and the others.

It is grief that brings Linh and Charlotte together. Helen is assumed dead but Linh knows in his heart that she is alive. Robert helps out once again by sending Linh on assignment in Cambodia. Linh will have a difficult time finding ways to get information but is prepared to turn over every stone to find Helen.

1. Do you think Helen and Linh getting married was inevitable? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and the book to support your reasoning.

2. Discuss the reasons that Helen might be so traditional about marriage when she was not traditional about having affairs or about going to Vietnam as a female combat photographer. Use examples from your own life and the book to support your reasoning.

3. Discuss the reasons why grief over the same person might draw two strangers together. Use examples from your own life and the book to support your reasoning.

Essay Topic 2

Helen gets her first real taste of being out in the field. Darrow seems to have no choice but to take Helen under his wing. The reader gets the impression that the main reason Helen wanted to go to Vietnam was to follow in her brother Michael's footsteps. Helen is told, none too gently, that she does not belong in Vietnam or in war time under any circumstances, and certainly not as a combat photographer. Helen is on the verge of fleeing the country many times but there is always something that makes her want to stay. For a while, that thing is Darrow. Helen and Darrow fall into an easy affair. Darrow, much older, is someone that Helen looks up to, someone that can train her. Darrow makes it clear that he is a married man and has no future with Helen. At first Helen is devastated but then realizes that perhaps it is best. Helen does not permit herself to miss Darrow while he is away.

1. Discuss the reasons you think Darrow has become Helen's mentor and whether you think he is a good mentor to her. Use examples from your own life and the book to support your reasoning.

2. Discuss what you think might have been Helen's relationship with her father and brother if she feels compelled to go to Vietnam because of what they did with their lives. Use examples from your own life and the book to support your reasoning.

3. Discuss what you think of Darrow's character in light of taking a much younger woman to mentor and then having an affair with her even though he is a married man. Use examples from your own life and the book to support your reasoning.

Essay Topic 3

Characters are an integral and important part of almost all novels. Discuss the following:

1. Compare/contrast the characters of Helen and Linh. How are they similar? How are they different? Is there a flaw in each of their personalities? Be specific and give examples.

2. Compare/contrast the characters of Linh and Darrow. How do they seem different? Which do you like more? Why? Which one seems more of a well-rounded character?

3. Thoroughly analyze how three of the secondary characters in The Lotus Eaters help drive the plot and what their contribution is to the storyline. Are any of the secondary characters unnecessary? Indispensable? Which of the secondary characters are likable? Which are either unlikable or even despicable? Be specific and give examples.

(see the answer keys)

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