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 Wolkowicz think Christopher is doing with Luong?

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

3. What does Paul do under his assumed name?

4. What do the Soviets want to do about Oswald?

5. When do David and Paul meet?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Luong face death?

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

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

4. What is the key phrase that Kim speaks that makes Paul realize who may be responsible for JFK's death and what does Paul do after the realization?

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

6. Briefly describe the discussion during the dinner with Christopher, the Websters, Foley and Peggy McKinney.

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

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

9. What is Foley's "public" response to Paul's hypothesis about the connection between the JFK assassination and the Ngo family?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

John F. Kennedy is the President of the United States at the opening of THE TEARS OF AUTUMN. Discuss one of the following:

1. Research the Kennedy's administration's policy in Vietnam and discuss how this policy affected the Ngo family. How accurate is McCarry's portrayal of the Kennedy administration's involvement in Vietnam? Do the historical records of the administration's policy to Vietnam differ compared to the novel? How?

2. After researching the Kennedy's administration's policy towards Vietnam, discuss whether you think some Vietnamese would be hostile to Kennedy even to the point of assassination. After your research, does McCarry's book seem more realistic or less? Explain.

3. Do you think JFK could be considered a character in the novel? Explain your answer with specific examples from the text. Would you label him as a protagonist or antagonist? How does Kennedy as a character affect the plot of THE TEARS OF AUTUMN?

Essay Topic 3

In Chapter 5, before Paul heads for Vietnam, he buys Molly a new ring. By the end of the book, Molly is wearing five rings that Paul has bought her. Discuss the following:

1. Trace and analyze the times Paul has bought Molly a ring and what each time might symbolize. Do you think each ring symbolizes the same thing or does Paul buy each ring for a different reason each time?

2. Trace and analyze the relationship between Molly and Paul. How is the relationship similar to that of his marriage? How is it different? Does Paul see this relationship as serious even though he tells Sybille he does not think he and Molly will marry? Can a relationship that does not involve marriage be as binding as that of a marriage? As serious? As fulfilling?

3. Paul suggests at the end of the novel that Molly has taught him to feel again. What are the reasons that Paul stops feeling? How does Molly teach Paul to feel again? Do you think they will eventually marry? Why or why not.

(see the answer keys)

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