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. In Istanbul, James marvels that his friends reduce every culture to what?

2. About whom does James dream about in Chapter 6?

3. What does James wish he could do at the end of the night in Chapter 2?

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

5. What information does Kathryn give about the murder victim at the beginning of Chapter 4?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What admission does James make to Lindsay Keller in Chapter 13?

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

4. What prank do the Kellers and James try to play on Hardeman in Chapter 11?

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

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

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

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

9. According to Rowser in Chapter 11, what changes are happening in the Northeast Group.

10. What offer does David Keller make James in Chapter 8, and how does James respond?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

James Axton's relationships with women change dramatically over the course of The Names. In certain respects, he is paralyzed throughout with the narrative by his inability to connect emotionally with a woman. Write an essay about this transition in three parts:

Part 1) What is the state of James Axton's marriage to Kathryn at the beginning of the play? Why are the two of them separated? How does the living situation at the beginning of the novel seem prepared to break apart, and what series of events effectively ends their marriage?

Part 2) How does James's interaction with Janet Ruffing typify his relationship with the female gender after his marriage ends? What does this attitude toward sex do for his outlook? Is he more or less happy than when he was married? What is DeLillo saying about marriage in this regard?

Part 3) Discuss James's relationship with Ann Maitland. What do the two have in common? How do these similarities create a deeper connection that transcends James's general attitude toward women? Discuss how this relationship matures, and what this means.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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