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. According to Owen in Chapter 5, what has America become?

2. Why is James concerned about Tap in Chapter 1?

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

4. Where does Kathryn accept a job at the end of Chapter 5?

5. During their argument in Chapter 5, what does Kathryn call James?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Tap Axton.

2. Describe Owen Brademas.

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

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

5. How has Charles Maitland changed of late?

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

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

8. Describe the murder in Kouros.

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

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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