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. What does Tom do as Paul tells him everything?

2. Where does Paul send Molly?

3. What does Molly tell Tom about what Paul is doing?

4. What is secondary in Paul's investigation?

5. What kind of skier is Molly?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

In Chapter 5, before Paul heads for Vietnam, he buys Molly a new ring. By the end of the book, Molly is wearing five rings that Paul has bought her. Discuss the following:

1. Trace and analyze the times Paul has bought Molly a ring and what each time might symbolize. Do you think each ring symbolizes the same thing or does Paul buy each ring for a different reason each time?

2. Trace and analyze the relationship between Molly and Paul. How is the relationship similar to that of his marriage? How is it different? Does Paul see this relationship as serious even though he tells Sybille he does not think he and Molly will marry? Can a relationship that does not involve marriage be as binding as that of a marriage? As serious? As fulfilling?

3. Paul suggests at the end of the novel that Molly has taught him to feel again. What are the reasons that Paul stops feeling? How does Molly teach Paul to feel again? Do you think they will eventually marry? Why or why not.

Essay Topic 3

Intelligence work, at least as far as this novel is concerned, can be dangerous business. Discuss one of the following:

1. What are some of the dangers of intelligence work specified or implied in THE TEARS OF AUTUMN? Illustrate with specific examples from the text.

2. Do you think intelligence work in the "real" world is more or less dangerous than that which is stated or implied in THE TEARS OF AUTUMN? Explain fully. (This may require some research).

3. Why do you think those characters in THE TEARS OF AUTUMN who choose intelligence work do so? Discuss and compare the motives for intelligence work by Paul, Tom Webster, David Patchen, Nsango, Luong, Trevor Hitchcock, and Klimenko. Each of these may have different reasons. Discuss fully with examples from the text.

(see the answer keys)

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