The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What favor has Mailer recently done for Goodman?

2. Whose "dwarf alter ego" did Mailer claim to be at the Ambassador speech, according to Macdonald in Chapter 3?

3. Who is entertaining the audience when the speakers arrive?

4. What is significant about the way Lowell recites his poetry in Chapter 6?

5. What word does Mailer use repeatedly in Chapter 1 to describe the effect of the Pentagon March?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Norman Mailer as a character.

2. Why is Dwight Macdonald livid about the newspaper coverage of the Ambassador event in Chapter 3?

3. Why does Mailer state he does not have a good instinct for speeches at protests?

4. How does Mailer fair in court in Chapter 9?

5. How do Ed de Grazia and Mailer scuffle in Chapter 5?

6. How do the soldiers and police in Chapter 8 make arrests and justify beatings?

7. What train of people following the the march in Chapter 4?

8. How does Mailer respond to William Sloane Coffin in Chapter 3?

9. What amusing interchange happens between Mailer and Lowell in this section?

10. What permits does the Mobilization Committee get in Chapter 4?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Norman Mailer is an arrogant, hard-living, patently cynical person, but he cares passionately about what others think of him. When he sees someone who is more respected or more famous, Mailer is stricken with a combination of fascination and maddened jealousy. Write an essay about three such individuals. How does the narrative juxtapose these people with the character of Mailer? How does he react to them? Do they inspire anger, respect, or some combination of both in him?

Part 1) Robert Lowell

Part 2) William Sloane Coffin

Part 3) Noam Chomsky

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay about the consistent comparison of the marchers in the novel to a conventional army. Begin your discussion of this likening of two armies by focusing on Mailer's connection of the march to his tour of duty in World War II. What are the similarities he mentions? Where is the comparable glory and agony experienced by both groups? How do the marchers have to prove their courage and willingness to sacrifice for comrades? How does this affect the wording used in describing them?

Essay Topic 3

The character of Norman Mailer begins Armies of the Night with an ambivalent attitude toward the conflict in Vietnam. As the novel continues, his opinions regarding the war are codified by what he sees in Washington, DC. Write an essay about this codification in three parts:

Part 1) Norman Mailer is unsure of what he thinks about Vietnam protesting when Mitch Goodman calls him in Chapter 2. Why does he agree to go to Washington for the march? Is it at all connected to political realities of the time? How does his behavior at the Ambassador reflect his attitude toward the movement?

Part 2) What does Mailer experience on Friday and Saturday at the Justice Department, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon? Discuss how this experience makes him remember his time in combat. How does this experience begin to alter his feelings about the anti-war movement?

Part 3) Describe what Mailer's feelings toward the war in Vietnam have become when his is awaiting processing after having been arrested. What has he realized about those who oppose the conflict? What does he think is driving America's continued involvement in the conflict?

(see the answer keys)

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