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 had talked of the Soviet's paranoia about Lee Harvey Oswald's past?

2. What does a courier deliver to the dinner party?

3. Who is in Mexico City at the same time as Oswald on 27-30 September?

4. Where does Paul drive his rented Peugeot?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Why does Luong face death?

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

6. 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?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Compare/contrast Paul and David. How are they alike? How are they different? Do they have the same ideals? Goals? Does David support Paul because of their friendship or because he believes in what Paul is doing? Use examples to illustrate your ideas.

2. Compare/contrast Molly with Paul's ex-wife? How are they alike? How are they different? Which seems more likable? Do you think Paul's ex-wife deserves the most blame for the end of the marriage? Explain. Does Molly deserve the most credit for the success of the relationship between her and Paul? Explain.

3. Trace and analyze two of the following characters: Frankie Pigeon, Manual Ruiz, Nsango and Wolkowicz. Decide if each is a protagonist or antagonist. Is each crucial to the story? How would the story change if that character does not exist? Is the character likable? Why or why not? Moral? Memorable? Round or Flat?

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 6, Paul suggests that Ho plans to hook the stupid, young GIs on heroin as vengeance. America foolishly underestimates Vietnam's power. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think the Americans underestimate Vietnam's power as it is portrayed in the book? (Do not consider whether the book is accurate or not). Why or why not? Use examples to support your stance.

2. Why do you think Paul thinks it is foolish for the Americans to underestimate Vietnam's power? What are the consequences in the book of the United States doing so?

3. What is the concept of vengeance? Are revenge and vengeance the same thing? Do you think it is a viable and useful tactic to hook young GIs on heroin as a means of vengeance? If the United States is responsible for the deaths of the Ngo brothers, whether directly or indirectly, does the United States deserve the vengeance that Vietnam wishes to dish out?

(see the answer keys)

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