Objective: In this section, Norman Mailer establishes himself as a character in his own historical novel. In doing this, he creates something of fissure: dividing his psyche into Mailer the observer and Mailer the observed. The objective of this lesson is to examine the duel role of author and subject in the novel.
1. Divide the class into three groups and have each make a list of five statements that sum up one incarnation of Norman Mailer. These incarnations include the character, the narrator, and the historical figure. The group writing about the historical figure should do some quick research on his life. How do the three lists compare? What do they indicate about the man and how he created his own public image?
2. For class discussion: As a class, watch the now legendary confrontation between Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer on the Dick Cavett Show in 1972 http...
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