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. Why is James concerned about Tap in Chapter 1?

2. With whom does Eliades talk throughout most of dinner in Chapter 3?

3. What advice does Rowser give James in Chapter 3?

4. What offer does James make to Charles in Chapter 4?

5. Why is Kathryn Maitland living on the island of Kouros?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. Why is Volterra in Jordan in Chapter 6?

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

8. Why is James ridiculed by his friends in the beginning of Chapter 1?

9. Describe the murder in Kouros.

10. Describe Tap Axton.

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

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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