The Names Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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 is Anand's profession?

2. What one aspect of Owen's experience are the men of his story interested in?

3. What European city does James Axton have an apartment in?

4. At the end of Chapter 2, why does Owen reason that he won't be able to find his cave-dwellers again?

5. In Chapter 7, Owen claims to be good at finding what when studying faith?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Owen uncomfortable talking about the Feast of the Virgin in Chapter 2?

2. According to Owen in Chapter 5, Why does the world hate America?

3. Describe the awkward lunch at the beginning of Chapter 7.

4. What plan does Volterra have for his life after film?

5. Describe the murder in Kouros.

6. Why is Volterra in Jordan in Chapter 6?

7. How has Kathryn Axton changes since separating from James?

8. How is Owen haunted by his childhood memories of religion?

9. What theories do Kathryn and Owen posit about the killings in Chapter 5?

10. What theory about the language cult does James present to Owen in Chapter 7?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In DeLillo's novel, objects and words take on symbolic value. Some of this becomes inchoate as a result of age and divine intent. Some of it is created in the mind of the observer. Write an essay discussing the significance of certain objects in the book. What individual is engrossed with this object, and what reasons does he or she give? What effect does this object have on characters? What divine significance does this object have in relation to other elements of the novel?

Part 1) The Acropolis

Part 2) The Cuneiform the archeologist hires a boy to read on a high precipice.

Part 3) The Ta Onomata boulder

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay about the Language Cult and how it becomes a symbol in the novel. To what extent does the language cult exist outside of time and place? In what ways is it stateless and oddly innocent? In discussing the otherworldliness of the cult, determine what it represents to the people who search it out. What do these lost Americans long to find at the end of the search for the cult? To what extent does the cult represent a pre-American world?

Essay Topic 3

Violence occurs intermittently throughout The Names, and when it falls, the violence comes quickly and partially witnessed. It is ambiguous in its intent and raises all sorts of questions. Write an essay about moments of violence in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the first murder. Who makes not of it first in the novel? Is it witnessed, first-hand by any character? How does Owen connect the violence to the people he met in the cave? What inquiries lead to the connection of the first murder to the ones that came before and after it?

Part 2) How does Owen experience his only murder with the death cult? Is he actually present when the man is bludgeoned to death? Why or why not? In assessing the effect of this violence on him as a character, discuss what leads up to the murder and what follows it.

Part 3) How is David Keller shot in the novel? Who shoots him, and why? How does James Axton, and by proxy the reader, experience this act of violence in the novel? Discuss what concerns and doubts it creates in the protagonist's mind. How is the act explained?

(see the answer keys)

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