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 David maintain about the Ngos?

2. Who does Christopher pay off?

3. Where is the safe house in Washington, D.C.?

4. What happens to Wolkowicz in WWII?

5. What does Paul bring to the Truong toc's?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. 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?

4. What does the letter from David say?

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

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

7. Describe Nguyên Kim.

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

There are a number of themes developed throughout the novel. Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of politics as presented in the novel. Include a discussion of the following questions: Which characters seem most involved in acting out of a concern for politics? Which ones seem to dismiss politics as a reason for actions? How does the political climate inform the main characters' actions? What do you think is the implied belief about politics in the novel? Use specific examples to develop your essay.

2. Trace and analyze the theme of power as presented in the novel. Include a discussion of the following questions: How would you define power as a concept developed in this novel? Do the powerful hold all the "chips"? How do those with less power manage to ignore or circumvent the restrictions/requirements placed upon them by those with greater power? Is power ever used for ethical goals in the novel? For unethical goals? Which characters wield the most power in The Tears of Autumn? Which characters have the least power? How does the amount of power each character wields affect their lives and their impact on the plot?

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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