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 event precipitated the separation of the Axtons?

2. What advice does Rowser give James in Chapter 3?

3. Which of the following is not a tactic Kathryn used to learn Greek?

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

5. What country is Volterra likely in, in Chapter 5?

Short Essay Questions

1. What transpires during James' evening with Del Nearing in Chapter 10?

2. What does James Axton do in Europe?

3. How does James seduce Janet Ruffing at the end of Chapter 9?

4. What unfortunate occurrence happens to David Keller in Chapter 13?

5. What is different about Chapter 14 from the rest of the novel?

6. How is Chapter 14 connected thematically to the rest of the novel?

7. How did Del Nearing and Frank Volterra meet?

8. What prank do the Kellers and James try to play on Hardeman in Chapter 11?

9. How does DeLillo illustrate James' awkward relationship with his landlord in Chapter 10?

10. In Chapter 12, why does Owen go to Lake Rajsamand?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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