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 do the dig's trenches overlap?

2. How do Tap, Kathryn and James travel to the dig in Chapter 2?

3. Who joins James and Ann at lunch at the beginning of Chapter 7?

4. In Chapter 5, what does Volterra talk to Owen about?

5. Where does Kathryn accept a job at the end of Chapter 5?

Short Essay Questions

1. How did James Axton begin working at Northeast Group?

2. Describe Tap Axton.

3. Why are the Axtons separated?

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

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

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

7. What story does Owen tell about a cave in Chapter 2?

8. What is James and Kathryn's relationship with Volterra?

9. How has Charles Maitland changed of late?

10. Describe Owen Brademas.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the latter half of The Names, James Axton develops several female entanglements that serve as temporary place-fillers for his lost family. Write an essay about these three: Janet Ruffing, Del Nearing, and Ann Maitland. How does Ruffing fulfill his sexual needs as a man? How does Nearing fulfill his paternal needs after the essential loss of Tap? Discuss, lastly, how Ann Maitland provides the most complete relationship for him. What are the defining attributes of this relationship? How does their final moment in the novel resonate as particularly significant?

Essay Topic 2

In The Names, Don DeLillo has created a central mystery - the mystery of the cult - in which clues and revelations are annoyingly amorphous and cannot necessarily be trusted. Write an essay about the subjectivity of truth in the novel, focusing on three pieces of information that James Axton gleans in his investigation. Where does this information come from? What is James's attitude towards it? Does he think that it is ultimately trustworthy?

Essay Topic 3

The place of America in the international community is a recurring motif in the narrative. How are all of the main characters - James Axton, Kathryn Axton, and Owen Brademas - at the back and call of this place? What new dangers are emerging from the ether in regards to Americans abroad? How is James Axton an operative of America in the hostile international world? How does Eliades represent the opposite, a spokesman and operative for a disgruntled world?

(see the answer keys)

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