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. After James drops Anand and Rajiv off in Chapter 4, what does Tap request they do?

2. According to Owen in Chapter 5, what has America become?

3. Which of the following is not a city James says he will be visiting in Chapter 2?

4. In Chapter 5, what does James say that Lindsay Keller avoids doing?

5. What admission does Ann make to James in Chapter 4?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does James Axton like having late-night talks with Owen and Kathryn?

2. Describe the tiff that Charles Maitland and James have at the end of Chapter 7.

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

4. Describe Tap Axton.

5. How does Kathryn rise quickly in Owen Brademas's dig?

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

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

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

9. How is Rowser's lifestyle strange given his position?

10. Describe the murder in Kouros.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the Northeast Group, what it ostensibly does as a company, how it is represented in the novel, and what it, in reality, is a functionary of. What is James Axton's role within the Northeast Group? What other character is his contact, and how does this character represent a strange intensity unusual for a private company? What does the Group do in the novel, and how are its true functions slyly revealed tot he reader and James Axton alike? What is the fallout?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay about the marriage and separation of James and Kathryn Axton. How did their marriage affect each others individual life and goals? What state is the marriage in when the novel begins, and how did it reach this point? Discuss how Kathryn and James' personalities and lifestyles change after the separation. What idiosyncrasies are revealed as a result? What finally breaks the marriage apart for good, and how does the veneer of cordiality disappear as a result?

Essay Topic 3

The Names takes place in a place and time in which new and unknown dangers are emerging for expat Americans. The novel finds clever and unnerving ways to illustrate these dangers. Write an essay in three parts dealing with the way DeLillo illustrates danger and fear in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the new international reality that is emerging for Americans in the early 1980's. What is the state of the Cold War at this time? What events have illustrated the new danger posed by religious extremism? To what extent is James Axton's profession the quintessential creation of American expat culture in this time?

Part 2) James Axton is clearly a character what sits at the tip of the spear for international danger. What dangers exist for him throughout the novel? Discuss ambiguous characters, messages, and events that strike him as dangerous? What violent moment serves as the culmination of this nascent danger, and who does James think is responsible for it?

Part 3) Discuss the subterranean actions that place James Axton's life in danger throughout the novel. How has James been an unwitting pawn of the intelligence community? What was hunting him throughout the novel? How does he discover the true nature of his work?

(see the answer keys)

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