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

2. Who is Molly?

3. Who is Wolkowicz?

4. What do Paul and Luong discuss?

5. About what did both Christopher's ex-wife, Cathy, and his girlfriend both obsess?

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

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

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

5. What does Paul do in response to the letter from David?

6. Who does Luong send Paul to talk to and why does he recommend Paul talking to this person?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Chapter 6, after Paul has discovered Luong's body and flees the scene, he is seated in the Continental Palace terrace when the Truong toc's girl approaches Paul's table and sits stiffly. He is surprised that a male relative has not been sent. Discuss the following:

1. Compare/contrast the females from the Western world to that of those from Vietnam as demonstrated in the text. How are they alike? How do they differ? How does their status in each culture differ? Are there similarities in their cultural status? What are they? Explain using examples from the text.

2. Have the cultural expectations in the present time (the 21st century) changed for women in either culture? How? (This may require some research.) Explain using examples from the text and your research.

3. Which culture seems to have changed more radically in their attitude towards women and the status of women? (This may require some research.) Explain using examples from the text and your research.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

In Chapter 4, Foley believes Paul is obsessed and questions David's objectivity. Foley is as wildly defensive of the dead JFK as he had been of the living, vibrant one he continues to imitate (he still wears the PT-109 tie clasp). Discuss the following:

1. Who seems most obsessed about Kennedy, both while Kennedy is alive and after his death? What is ironic about Foley thinking Paul is obsessed? Who seems to deal with JFK's death in a more healthy manner--Paul or Foley? Or is either grieving in a healthy way?

2. What do you think the PT-109 tie clasp epitomizes or is symbolic of? What happens when a person dies suddenly or while fairly young (relatively speaking) who is larger than life while alive? Can you think of some recent examples with which to compare the death of Kennedy? (hint: Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze, etc.).

3. Paul chooses to put his life in danger in order to ferret out the truth behind JFK's assassination. Is this a cause worth risking one's own life and the lives of those one is close to?

(see the answer keys)

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