The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What narrative is told by the Time Magazine article of Chapter 1?

Armies of the Night begins with an unflattering Time Magazine article from October 27, 1967. In the article, Mailer gets arrested for crossing a police line, apparently intoxicated. The scene seems chaotic and the chapter ends by inviting the reader to read on in order to find out what happened.

2. Describe Norman Mailer as a character.

Norman Mailer of The Armies of the Night hews closely to the public image he cultivated in the 1960's and 1970's. He is overly confident and delights in the discomfort of others. He is a deep thinker and frequently deviates from the narration to interject his opinions or random thoughts. At times his thoughts make no sense, likely as a result of drugs and alcohol.

3. What is Mailer's attitude toward protest at the beginning of the novel?

Armies of the night begins in 1967, when the Vietnam protest movement has been going for a few years. Norman Mailer privately suspects that the movement has become largely soulless and ineffective. He intentionally avoids its events altogether, such as the time that he chose not to attend a book award dinner due to rumors that it would be interrupted by protesters.

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