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. Where was James living when Rowser first offered him a job?

2. According to James in Chapter 1, what does Kathryn think life should be?

3. When did Kathryn begin her work with Owen?

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

5. In Chapter 1, where does James tell Kathryn he has been doing most of his work?

Short Essay Questions

1. What story does Owen tell about a cave in Chapter 2?

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

3. Describe the murder in Kouros.

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

5. What indication exists in Chapter 1 that relations are strained between James and Kathryn?

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

7. Describe the awkward lunch at the beginning of Chapter 7.

8. What plan does Volterra have for his life after film?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the relationship between James and Tap Axton. What do father and son do together throughout the novel, and how does the impending divorce affect this activity? What habits does Tap have that alienate him from James? Discuss whether DeLillo paints a picture of a father and son relationship that seems strong in any way. What other character seems more like a father figure to Tap?

Essay Topic 2

In the latter half of The Names, James Axton develops several female entanglements that serve as temporary place-fillers for his lost family. Write an essay about these three: Janet Ruffing, Del Nearing, and Ann Maitland. How does Ruffing fulfill his sexual needs as a man? How does Nearing fulfill his paternal needs after the essential loss of Tap? Discuss, lastly, how Ann Maitland provides the most complete relationship for him. What are the defining attributes of this relationship? How does their final moment in the novel resonate as particularly significant?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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