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. At the beginning of Chapter 7, James wonders whether adultery serves what purpose?

2. Into what country is James arriving at the beginning of Book 2?

3. What specific problem is Volterra having with his excursions in Chapter 6?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What indication exists in Chapter 1 that relations are strained between James and Kathryn?

2. What strange coincidence does James notice at the end of Chapter 6?

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

4. What does James Axton do in Europe?

5. How is Owen's connection to the cave people addressed in Chapter 4?

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

7. How do Kathryn and James discuss their relationship in Chapter 2?

8. What conversation do Eliades and James have at dinner in Chapter 3?

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

10. Why are the Axtons separated?

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

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?

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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