The Names Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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. About whom does James dream about in Chapter 6?

2. Who is the inspiration for Tap's novel?

3. What country is David Keller going to be air-dropped into in Chapter 5?

4. What specific problem is Volterra having with his excursions in Chapter 6?

5. What scares Owen about religion?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe the murder in Kouros.

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

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

5. Describe the political argument that James and Eliades have in Chapter 10.

6. How does James learn the truth behind the CIA in Chapter 13?

7. What information does Andahl give about the cult in Chapter 9?

8. How does James follow up on his Mani discovery later in Chapter 8?

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

10. How has Rowser become more paranoid in Chapter 11?

Essay Topics

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?

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?

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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