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. Who is Gherman Klimenko?

2. What does Molly find Paul doing?

3. What is the meaning of feng shui in Asia?

4. In addition to two brothers and a foreigner, all marked for death, who else is involved in Yu's analysis?

5. How does Yu explain himself?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do Paul and Tom discuss as they are at the bar having hot buttered rum?

2. With whom does Paul meet and upon what does Paul's report focus?

3. What does Paul tell Molly about his investigation into JFK's murder?

4. Who does Paul select for breaking Frankie Pigeon and how does he motivate one of the two men?

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

6. How does the evening with Tom and Sybille go for Paul and Molly and what slightly mars the evening?

7. Briefly sum up Molly's week with the Websters.

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Chapter 6, when Paul mentions that the two presidents (Kennedy and Ngo Diem) die within 21 days of one another, the Truong toc doubts the sorrows are similar. Americans live in another world. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think the Truong toc means when he says Americans live in a different world? How are the two countries different politically as revealed in the text? Explain fully with examples from the text and your own experience.

2. Do you think Americans are more or less likely to grieve for a fallen leader than those in a small Indonesian country such as Vietnam? Explain fully with examples from the text and your own experience.

3. Does the Turong toc seem condescending to Paul? Why or why not? Discuss fully with examples from the text.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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