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

2. What invitation does James extend to Volterra at the end of Chapter 6?

3. In Chapter 5, what does James say that Lindsay Keller avoids doing?

4. What favorite activity has Charles Maitland given up on in Chapter 4?

5. At the end of Chapter 1, how does James think Kathryn's attitude toward him is changing?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. In Chapter 4, what plan does Kathryn have for after her dig ends?

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

8. Describe the murder in Kouros.

9. How has Charles Maitland changed of late?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Write an essay about the Language Cult and how it becomes a symbol in the novel. To what extent does the language cult exist outside of time and place? In what ways is it stateless and oddly innocent? In discussing the otherworldliness of the cult, determine what it represents to the people who search it out. What do these lost Americans long to find at the end of the search for the cult? To what extent does the cult represent a pre-American world?

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?

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