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 location is Owen visiting when he meets the two strange men in the tomb caves?

2. Looking at the methodology of the cult in Chapter 7, James realizes that the actual murders are what?

3. In Chapter 6, Vosdanik explains that to the cult of lonely men, words are the vessels of what?

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

5. What item does James buy as soon as he arrives in Amman in Chapter 6?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe Kathryn and James' argument in Chapter 5?

3. Why is James ridiculed by his friends in the beginning of Chapter 1?

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

5. What do Owen and James talk about at the end of Chapter 2?

6. What explanation of the language cult's motives does Vosdanik offer in Chapter 6?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about Owen Brademas and his function thematically in the narrative. Based on first impressions from the opening chapters, what does Owen value above all else in life? What does he want to achieve? Discuss how these objectives drive Owen to seek out the cult, and how his skills make him the most effective of the searchers. Why does he become paralyzed by the prospect of meeting the cult? How does his experience with them leave him?

Essay Topic 2

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 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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