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. How does Kathryn describe her and James' post-separation relationship in Chapter 2?

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

3. In Chapter 2, James says that Kathryn once attacked him with what household item?

4. In Chapter 1, what monument do James Axton and his friends discuss?

5. Who else is on the bus that Volterra, James, and Del take in Chapter 6?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How has Charles Maitland changed of late?

3. How has Kathryn Axton changes since separating from James?

4. Why is Volterra in Jordan in Chapter 6?

5. How did James Axton begin working at Northeast Group?

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

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

8. Describe Owen Brademas.

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

A central theme of Don DeLillo's The Names is the mystical and broad meaning of language. In this novel, language and words not only contain meaning but also a sort of divine truth. Write an essay in three parts about the way DeLillo deals with truth in the novel:

Part 1) Owen Brademas is the major character with the most passionate connection to language in the novel. Discuss what influences in his life, beginning with his childhood, have contributed to this connection. What does he want to do with his life, and how do words become part of this? What is the purpose of ancient words, in his viewpoint?

Part 2) Midway through the novel, the mysterious Vosdanik explains the significance of words to the mysterious cult. Describe the role of language to the lonely men of the desert. Why are they obsessed with them? Historically, what has been the significance of words to spiritual acolytes?

Part 3) What is the methodology of the language cult? Why do they commit their murders? What divine extreme are they reaching for? Citing the words of Vosdanik, Andahl, and Singh, discuss the meaning of the cult in the world of the novel. Are they the touchstone of love of language in The Names?

Essay Topic 3

In The Names, Don DeLillo sets up two mysteries that seem at one point to be connected. Write an essay discussing the reality behind both mysteries and how DeLillo juxtaposes them. Which two entities are aware of James Axton, and which one specifically attempts to harm him? What inclinations does he have that either of these entities is on to him? Which entity does Eliades belong to? How the reality behind either entity revealed in the narrative?

(see the answer keys)

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