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

Tatjana Soli
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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Linh feel Helen is doing to him?

2. Why is Helen rushing to meet Robert?

3. What does Jack say everyone is interested in as far as Helen is concerned?

4. Who does Helen meet at the river?

5. What is Helen's brother's name?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens between Darrow and Tanner at the party and what does Darrow tell Helen about Tanner?

2. What does Darrow tell Helen he has in Saigon and what does he say about his life?

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

4. How does Helen survive in Saigon without Darrow?

5. What does Robert agree to do for Linh?

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

7. What did Linh do while away from Helen and Darrow?

8. Describe Helen and Darrow's visit to a Red Cross camp.

9. Where does Helen sleep before returning to her apartment in Cholon and what does she think in doing so?

10. Why do Tanner and Darrow get into a fight?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Often, authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Tatjana Soli.

2. What in Soli's background may have helped him in writing The Lotus Eaters? What may have influenced the way he depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his/her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

There are a number of interesting questions raised by The Lotus Eaters. Questions that Soli most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Soli' agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Soli' probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Soli and see if/where his life may have influenced his writing.

(see the answer keys)

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