The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History 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. On what day of the week is the march taking place?

2. What favor has Mailer recently done for Goodman?

3. Where are the protest speakers going when they leave the part at the end of Chapter 4?

4. Why do Mailer, Macdonald and Lowell want to be arrested first on Saturday?

5. Where do the organizers of the March go for breakfast in Chapter 3?

Short Essay Questions

1. What metaphor does Mailer use in Chapter 5 to describe the Vietnam controvery in America and who takes what sides?

2. Why does Mailer agree to join the Pentagon protest in Chapter 2?

3. Describe the interactions Mailer has with his fellow speakers at the party in Chapter 4.

4. What reasoning does Mailer give for placing himself at the center of the narrative of the novel in Chapter 1?

5. How does Mailer annoy Ed de Grazia in Chapter 4?

6. Why is Mailer late to emcee the event in Chapter 5?

7. Describe the performance space of this section.

8. What rationalization does Mailer give for taking his book from the hostess's house in Chapter 5?

9. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

10. Describe Mailer's emceeing in Chapters 5 and 6?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Mailer's novel is a powerfully eloquent evocation of the pain, passion, and hard realities surrounding the 1967 March on the Pentagon, but it is peppered with instances of his being unable to adequately express his feelings about America, protest and the war. Write an essay, detailing three instances in which Mailer is fantastically ineffective in explaining himself to crowds or the press? How does he explaining this iniquity? What does he feel when he soberly understands media reaction to his words? Sum up the essay with a discussion of how the novel Armies of the Night is, in part, his attempt to right these failures.

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the novel Armies of the Night, Norman Mailer makes reference to other source materials. These offer the reader another vantage for the events of October, 1967. Write an essay about these source materials, focusing on two uses in the novel:

Part 1) The novel begins with a an assessment of Norma Mailer's involvement in the march on the Pentagon in Time Magazine. What does this article have to say about Mailer? How, in essence, does it provide a counterpoint for what follows in the rest of the novel? To what extent does this article both inspire Mailer to write the novel and serve as a destination of sorts for him? Why is Mailer so dedicated to responding to the article?

Part 2) The second book of the novel is full of quotes and references to other publications. Discuss several of these publications and their role in Book II. How does their inclusion reflect a different sort of narration from the narration in Book I? Is Mailer attempting to cite them as corroboration or refute them as he does the Time Magazine story?

Essay Topic 3

Near the end of the second book, Mailer enumerates the reasons why some people oppose the war in Vietnam. Write an essay about this logic, focusing on three of the groups he mentions. Do you think their reasoning in sound? What organizations and individuals represent this group in the narrative? Are there modern parallels to this group in today's society?

Part 1) Those who want Asia and, eventually, America to turn Communist.

Part 2) Those who are pacifists.

Part 3) Those who think the war is unjust.

(see the answer keys)

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