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 does James admit to Kathryn as they walk together in Chapter 2?

2. What business does Volterra want to run when his film career ends?

3. In Chapter 7, where does Owen intend to go when he leaves Greece?

4. What danger do Tap and James encounter when they go hiking in Chapter 5?

5. In Chapter 7, what does James accuse Owen of doing?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. According to Owen in Chapter 5, Why does the world hate America?

7. Why is Owen uncomfortable talking about the Feast of the Virgin in Chapter 2?

8. What theory about the language cult does James present to Owen in Chapter 7?

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

10. How is Owen haunted by his childhood memories of religion?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The action of Don DeLillo's The Names largely centers on a group of westerners' search for the language cult that stalks Eurasia. Each of these men has a reason for seeking this death-cult, and each has tactics that yield varying success. Write an essay about the individual quests for the cult in the novel:

Part 1) Why does Frank Volterra want to find the death cult in The Names, and what is his intention when he does find them? Discuss how Volterra initially hears about the cult, and what tactic he uses to find them. What success does this yield? Why does the director give up?

Part 2) Why does James Axton want to find the cult? Discuss what other events in his life coincide with this dangerous quest. What does James discover about the cult, and how? How is his sense of sanity affected by this? What new fears and obsessions does the search evoke?

Part 3) Why does Owen Brademas want to find the death cult? How does his childhood relate to his goals in the quest? Discuss what tactics and skills make Owen Brademas the most successful of the searchers in the novel. Why, in the end, does Owen consider his search a failure?

Essay Topic 2

Violence occurs intermittently throughout The Names, and when it falls, the violence comes quickly and partially witnessed. It is ambiguous in its intent and raises all sorts of questions. Write an essay about moments of violence in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the first murder. Who makes not of it first in the novel? Is it witnessed, first-hand by any character? How does Owen connect the violence to the people he met in the cave? What inquiries lead to the connection of the first murder to the ones that came before and after it?

Part 2) How does Owen experience his only murder with the death cult? Is he actually present when the man is bludgeoned to death? Why or why not? In assessing the effect of this violence on him as a character, discuss what leads up to the murder and what follows it.

Part 3) How is David Keller shot in the novel? Who shoots him, and why? How does James Axton, and by proxy the reader, experience this act of violence in the novel? Discuss what concerns and doubts it creates in the protagonist's mind. How is the act explained?

Essay Topic 3

The expatriates of The Names have a decorum and a series of systems they use as they travel through Europe and Asia. Write an essay about the qualms, Concerns, recommendations, and preferences that permeate the characters' conversations and actions? What do they take care always to do? What do they avoid at all costs? How do these decisions reflect a changing world and the dangers that will emerge throughout the novel? How is traveling in this period different from previous expatriation and the international travel of today?

(see the answer keys)

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