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 Paul suddenly understand at the opening of Chapter 3?

2. Who is Dieter Dimpel?

3. What man does Paul quote when talking to Truong toc?

4. What does David say about the "outfit" as regards the Ngo men?

5. How is the President of the United States at the time of this chapter described in Paul's conversation with Cremona?

Short Essay Questions

1. How do Yu's horoscopes figure into the planning of the assassination of JFK?

2. How does Gherman Klimenko convince Paul that Klimenko knows Paul is not just a journalist.

3. What sudden revelation does Paul have and how does he have it?

4. What is the Truong toc and which Truong toc does Paul talk with and what transpires?

5. How does the evening with Tom and Sybille go for Paul and Molly and what slightly mars the evening?

6. What does Paul insist upon before he will discuss the report and what is Turnbull's reply?

7. Describe Yu Lung.

8. What happens to Pigeon initially when he is kidnapped?

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

10. Briefly discuss Paul and David's friendship and what they have in common.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

THE TEARS OF AUTUMN takes place during an era quite dissimilar to the current political situation of the world, particularly that of the United States. An understanding of the political situation at the time of the setting will enhance the reading experience and understanding of the plot. Discuss one of the following:

1. Discuss the situation between the United States and Vietnam during the early 1960s. How does the political situation at that time inform the plot of The Tears of Autumn? How historically accurate are the facts about Vietnam in McCarry's book? Why do you think he takes some liberties with the history of the time? Could he have been absolutely historically accurate and used the same plot?

2. Compare/contrast the threats from the world situation as perceived during the early 1960s from threats from the world situation as perceived today? What major powers have shifted/changed? What are the types of threats then versus now? Which world situation seems more volatile--then or now? Would a book set in this time (first decade of the 21st century) be substantively different in tone, plot, etc...?

3. Discuss how you think the situation in Vietnam would have been if the Ngo brothers remained in power based upon what you read in THE TEARS OF AUTUMN. How would that have changed the history of relations between Vietnam and the United States?

Essay Topic 2

In Chapter 2, when Paul hears news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a Belgian priest provides the foil for him to admit his love of America and of JFK at the same. Discuss the following:

1. What is meant by a foil in literary terms? How do you think the Belgian priest serves as a foil at the end of chapter 2? Do you think this is an effective means of revealing these aspects of Paul's character? Why or why not?

2. Discuss Paul's feelings about the United States of America and about John F. Kennedy. How strongly do these feelings influence Paul's later actions? Do you think Paul would have investigated John Kennedy's assassination if he had been a Republican? Why or why not.

3. Trace and discuss the theme of patriotism throughout THE TEARS OF AUTUMN. Which characters seem most motivated by a love or their countries? Which seem to have no patriotism or loyalty to their country? Is patriotism always a noble motivation?

Essay Topic 3

In Chapter 2, narration states that Chinese revolutionaries have come and gone in the Congo and the Cubans are now establishing themselves. Neither country has been willing to arm the Congolese rebels fighting the Belgians. Discuss one of the following:

1. Discuss the reasons you think China and Cuba are unwilling to arm the native Congolese (especially the idea of racism). Use examples from the book demonstrating the Cubans and Chinese attitudes towards the people of the Congo.

2. Discuss the theme of imperialism as it appears throughout the book. Who are imperialists? What are the motives of countries who behave in an imperialistic manner? Is there ever a justification for imperialism? Does any justification appear in this book for the American involvement in Vietnam?

3. How do some persons from Imperialistic nations act/think in a different vein (e.g., Paul, Dieter, Tom, and Sybille). What factors do you think influences some characters to have a more egalitarian view of other races/nations? In "real" life, what do you think influences this?

(see the answer keys)

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