The Tears of Autumn Test | Final Test - Hard

Charles McCarry
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Where does Paul park his car?

2. How does the kidnapping go?

3. What photo does Klimenko show Paul?

4. What has Paul seen in the wiretap logs?

5. What does Paul hand over to Ruiz?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

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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