The Tears of Autumn Test | Final 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 do Diem and Nhu prepare to "spit out of their graves"?

2. What architecture does Paul fix in his mind?

3. What does Paul show Phuoc?

4. Why does Paul panic when he first arrives at his apartment in Rome?

5. What germ does Paul pretend he is going to inject in Pigeon?

Short Essay Questions

1. What information does Paul get from Klimenko when they meet again?

2. What happens to Pigeon initially when he is kidnapped?

3. Why is Paul glad he is alone?

4. Describe Dieter Dimpel and what he asks of Paul for payment for helping Paul.

5. What is the response to Paul's report at the meeting and what does Trumbull decide to do and why?

6. Who does Paul meet on the outskirts of Elisabethville and for what reason?

7. With whom does Paul meet in Zurich and what do they do?

8. What happens to all the Cubans but Ruiz and why not Ruiz? What does Nsango ask about Ruiz?

9. Describe Yu Lung.

10. What are Paul's instructions to the two men who are to break Pigeon?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

THE TEARS OF AUTUMN takes place during an era quite dissimilar to the current political situation of the world, particularly that of the United States. An understanding of the political situation at the time of the setting will enhance the reading experience and understanding of the plot. Discuss one of the following:

1. Discuss the situation between the United States and Vietnam during the early 1960s. How does the political situation at that time inform the plot of The Tears of Autumn? How historically accurate are the facts about Vietnam in McCarry's book? Why do you think he takes some liberties with the history of the time? Could he have been absolutely historically accurate and used the same plot?

2. Compare/contrast the threats from the world situation as perceived during the early 1960s from threats from the world situation as perceived today? What major powers have shifted/changed? What are the types of threats then versus now? Which world situation seems more volatile--then or now? Would a book set in this time (first decade of the 21st century) be substantively different in tone, plot, etc...?

3. Discuss how you think the situation in Vietnam would have been if the Ngo brothers remained in power based upon what you read in THE TEARS OF AUTUMN. How would that have changed the history of relations between Vietnam and the United States?

Essay Topic 3

In Chapter 6, Paul visits Wolkowicz, who is shown to be obsessed with his personal safety and takes pleasure in watching his pet python feed. In a novel where people are tortured and killed, it is this pathetic scene where the violence seems gratuitous. Discuss the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of violence throughout THE TEARS OF AUTUMN. What violence is gratuitous? Does any of the violence seem justified? Is violence ever the only solution to a problem in this novel or in "real" life? Is violence ever the best solution in this novel or in "real" life?

2. What is the irony of Wolkowicz's fear for his personal safety and his pleasure in watching his python feed? Do you think Wolkowicz finds pleasure in other acts of violence? Why or why not?

3. In his evening of talking with Nicole, the idea that all humans seek to murder without feeling guilt is suggested. Do you think this is true? Is it possible to be a psychologically healthy person and murder without feeling guilty? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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