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. Why do Paul and David meet at the Statler Hotel?

2. Where does Webster have Molly investigated?

3. What language does Christopher speak impeccably?

4. What does David Patchen say Foley wants?

5. What does Luong face?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Foley really believe about Paul's theory about the connection between the JFK assassination and the Ngo family?

2. Describe Paul's case worker, Tom Webster.

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

4. What do David and Paul talk about when they meet at the Statler Hotel?

5. What is Paul Christopher thinking about as he boards a plane in Bangkok?

6. What does Paul tell Ho he wants to know and why he wants to know it?

7. Why does Luong face death?

8. Who does Paul go to meet in Léopoldville and describe the person.

9. What does Paul learn when he visits Wolkowicz' compound?

10. How does Paul Christopher feel about Nsango?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Chapter 1, when the group that includes Foley and Peggy McKinney learn of the deaths of the Ngo brothers, Peggy tries to lead a college cheer over their deaths. No one will join in, and Sybille Webster weeps over all of the corpses that politics creates. Undeterred, Peggy McKinney insists on a difference between petty Asiatic dictators and presidents of the greatest nation on earth. Discuss the following:

1. Sybille Webster might be considered the "conscience" of the novel. How do you think she serves as a moral barometer? Give specific examples. How do you think she lives with the fact that her husband is part of an organization that will do many illegal and immoral acts to promote a political goal?

2. Debate Peggy McKinney's belief that there is a difference between petty Asiatic dictators and presidents of the greatest nation on earth.

3. Do politics create corpses or do humans create corpses? Is there a difference? Discuss fully.

Essay Topic 2

In Chapter 6, Paul meets with Luong and they discuss lucky numbers. Discuss the following:

1. What is numerology? How does the concept of numerology play out in the novel? Do you think Luong really believes that because 11/1 is his lucky number that his life is spared when Nhu and Diem are murdered on that day?

2. Paul insists he is not toying with superstitions but wants to learn when talking about numerology with Luong. Why do you think Paul wants to learn about how the Vietnamese view numbers? Does Paul use this information later? When? How?

3. Do you think the concept of numerology has any validity? Why or why not? Would you arrange your life by studying numbers? Is there a difference between superstition and numerology? Why or why not.

Essay Topic 3

In Chapter 7, when Paul declares he will resume his work, Ho mocks his bravado, but the Truong toc shows Paul Molly's picture, taken in Rome. Discuss the following:

1. Why it is more effective to threaten Paul with Molly's safety than his own? Do you think this is often the case for humans--i.e., that threats to their loved ones to illicit compliance is more effective than threats to one's own self?

2. Sybille Webster is angry that Paul is determined to stay with Molly because she thinks it endangers both of them. Do you think she is right to be angry? Do you think it is up to Molly whether she wants to risk death if she stays with Paul? Would it be right for Paul to make that decision for Molly? Discuss fully with details from the book.

3. Sybille Webster is also angry that Paul decides to investigate JFK's murder because it puts Paul's life at risk. Why do you think Paul thinks his life is worth knowing the truth? Do you think the truth is worth the lives that are lost in finding it? Why or why not.

(see the answer keys)

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