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

2. In Chapter 5, what does Volterra talk to Owen about?

3. Who joins James and Ann at lunch at the beginning of Chapter 7?

4. How many items are on the list James reads to Kathryn at the end of Chapter 1?

5. What attribute of the cult do Owen and James realize in Chapter 7?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What traumatic experience happens to Orville Benton in Chapter 14?

3. What suspicions does James have about Eliades in Chapter 13?

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

5. How did Del Nearing and Frank Volterra meet?

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

7. How does Owen experience the murder in Chapter 12?

8. Where is Volterra in his planning for the cult film at the end of Chapter 8?

9. How does James learn the truth behind the CIA in Chapter 13?

10. What does James Axton learn in Bombay early in Chapter 11?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

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

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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