The Tears of Autumn Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Charles McCarry
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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 Foley believe?

2. What does Paul need to investigate the JFK assassination?

3. What does Paul give his girlfriend before heading to Asia?

4. Who is Dieter Dimpel?

5. Who is Tom Webster?

Short Essay Questions

1. What demonstrates that Paul is still at risk despite the Truong toc saying Paul is harmless and to let him live?

2. Describe the dinner conversation between Kim and Paul.

3. Describe Paul's visit with the Ngo Truong toc.

4. What does the letter from David say?

5. How does Paul avoid going to jail in Vietnam?

6. Whose corpse does Paul go to see and what is he told there?

7. Why are the Soviets concerned about Lee Harvey Oswald being JFK's assassin, and what action do the Soviets take?

8. What is probably foreshadowed in Paul's dinner meeting with the Hitchocks?

9. What does David Patchen think about Foley?

10. Give a brief description of Paul Christopher.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Chapter 6, Paul suggests that Ho plans to hook the stupid, young GIs on heroin as vengeance. America foolishly underestimates Vietnam's power. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think the Americans underestimate Vietnam's power as it is portrayed in the book? (Do not consider whether the book is accurate or not). Why or why not? Use examples to support your stance.

2. Why do you think Paul thinks it is foolish for the Americans to underestimate Vietnam's power? What are the consequences in the book of the United States doing so?

3. What is the concept of vengeance? Are revenge and vengeance the same thing? Do you think it is a viable and useful tactic to hook young GIs on heroin as a means of vengeance? If the United States is responsible for the deaths of the Ngo brothers, whether directly or indirectly, does the United States deserve the vengeance that Vietnam wishes to dish out?

Essay Topic 2

In Chapter 6, when Paul mentions that the two presidents (Kennedy and Ngo Diem) die within 21 days of one another, the Truong toc doubts the sorrows are similar. Americans live in another world. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think the Truong toc means when he says Americans live in a different world? How are the two countries different politically as revealed in the text? Explain fully with examples from the text and your own experience.

2. Do you think Americans are more or less likely to grieve for a fallen leader than those in a small Indonesian country such as Vietnam? Explain fully with examples from the text and your own experience.

3. Does the Turong toc seem condescending to Paul? Why or why not? Discuss fully with examples from the text.

Essay Topic 3

In Chapter 6, Paul visits Wolkowicz, who is shown to be obsessed with his personal safety and takes pleasure in watching his pet python feed. In a novel where people are tortured and killed, it is this pathetic scene where the violence seems gratuitous. Discuss the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of violence throughout THE TEARS OF AUTUMN. What violence is gratuitous? Does any of the violence seem justified? Is violence ever the only solution to a problem in this novel or in "real" life? Is violence ever the best solution in this novel or in "real" life?

2. What is the irony of Wolkowicz's fear for his personal safety and his pleasure in watching his python feed? Do you think Wolkowicz finds pleasure in other acts of violence? Why or why not?

3. In his evening of talking with Nicole, the idea that all humans seek to murder without feeling guilt is suggested. Do you think this is true? Is it possible to be a psychologically healthy person and murder without feeling guilty? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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