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 Paul offer Kim?

2. What is Paul's flaw?

3. Who can predict and use others' mistakes?

4. Why does Paul love Molly?

5. Why do the Ngos see Oswald as useful?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is the Truong toc and which Truong toc does Paul talk with and what transpires?

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

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

5. What does the letter from David say?

6. What does Paul tell Ho he wants to know and why he wants to know it?

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

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

9. Describe Nguyên Kim.

10. Why does Luong face death?

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

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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