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. Who does Paul pretend to be when visiting Woldowicz?

2. Where does Webster have Molly investigated?

3. Why does Paul rush to the United States?

4. What does Wolkowicz want in exchange for keeping Paul out of Vietnamese jails?

5. Who is Klimenko?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Why does Luong face death?

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

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

6. How does Paul Christopher feel about Nsango?

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

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

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

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, 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 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?

(see the answer keys)

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