|Name: _________________________||Period: ___________________|
This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. Near the end of Chapter 3, David and James discuss unrest in what region?
2. When did Kathryn begin her work with Owen?
3. Why did James decline to work with Northeast Group initially?
4. How many people did Owen Brademas's dig start with?
5. In Istanbul, James marvels that his friends reduce every culture to what?
Short Essay Questions
1. What do Owen and James talk about at the end of Chapter 2?
2. What explanation of the language cult's motives does Vosdanik offer in Chapter 6?
3. Describe the awkward lunch at the beginning of Chapter 7.
4. Why are the Axtons separated?
5. Describe the murder in Kouros.
6. Why is Volterra in Jordan in Chapter 6?
7. Describe Tap Axton.
8. What theories do Kathryn and Owen posit about the killings in Chapter 5?
9. In Chapter 4, what plan does Kathryn have for after her dig ends?
10. What indication exists in Chapter 1 that relations are strained between James and Kathryn?
Write an essay for ONE of the following 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
James Axton's relationships with women change dramatically over the course of The Names. In certain respects, he is paralyzed throughout with the narrative by his inability to connect emotionally with a woman. Write an essay about this transition in three parts:
Part 1) What is the state of James Axton's marriage to Kathryn at the beginning of the play? Why are the two of them separated? How does the living situation at the beginning of the novel seem prepared to break apart, and what series of events effectively ends their marriage?
Part 2) How does James's interaction with Janet Ruffing typify his relationship with the female gender after his marriage ends? What does this attitude toward sex do for his outlook? Is he more or less happy than when he was married? What is DeLillo saying about marriage in this regard?
Part 3) Discuss James's relationship with Ann Maitland. What do the two have in common? How do these similarities create a deeper connection that transcends James's general attitude toward women? Discuss how this relationship matures, and what this means.
Essay Topic 3
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?
This section contains 1,039 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)