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 does Paul love Molly?

2. Who is Dieter Dimpel?

3. Who scoffs at the idea they will admit to killing an American president and destroying the American army with heroin?

4. What do the Ngos need?

5. What is Luong renamed in death?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How does Paul Christopher feel about Nsango?

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

6. Why does Luong face death?

7. What does the letter from David say?

8. What is ironic about Piero Cremona's statement about the United States Marines when reading this book in the present time?

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

10. Describe Paul Christopher's section chief, Barney Wolkowicz.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Chapter 7, Paul goes to Luong's wake, where Roman Catholic and Buddhist practices are intertwined. Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze throughout the novel how Roman Catholic and Buddhist practices are intertwined, along with other belief systems such as numerology. Why do you think this happens? Does it invalidate or strengthen each religion? Do you think those who incorporate both religions into their personal belief system believe either path is "right"? Why or why not?

2. Trace and analyze throughout the novel how Western cultural influences are merged with those of the Vietnamese. Does this strengthen or weaken the Vietnamese culture? Their political system? Their traditions?

3. When a stronger nation conquers a weaker nation, some assimilation takes place between both cultures. Discuss this concept, particularly the pros and cons of the assimilation. Has a culture that is conquered ever failed to adopt any of the conquering nation's culture? (This question may require research to answer).

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 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.

(see the answer keys)

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