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. Where do Lowell, Mailer, and Macdonald go after the card return in Chapter 4?

2. In Chapter 1, what does Mailer claim the young generation hates more than anything else?

3. In Chapter 2, what does Mailer specifically not want done to him at the protest, should the police sweep in?

4. What is the central action of the protest Mailer is invited to in Chapter 2?

5. What does Mailer recall as he walks toward the Washington Monument in Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens once the group arrives at the Justice Department in Chapter 4?

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

3. What appraisal of Robert Lowell does Mailer make in en route to the Department of Justice in Chapter 3?

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

5. How does Norman Mailer characterize his hangover in Chapter 2?

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

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

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

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

10. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

More than midway through the novel, Mailer suddenly goes back in time and explains the planning of the March, events which he was not present for. Write an essay about the planning of the March, discussing which individuals and groups shaped it. What were the divergent opinions in terms of the locations and tactics of the March, and which one's won out in the end? Discuss individuals and groups who fell into conflict, why they did so, and how this affected the development of a strategy. In summation, determine whether the March had a coherent and unified planning process.

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay about the use of stream-of-consciousness and free association in the narration of Armies of the Night. When are these modernist tools used most prevalently? To what extent do they appear when Mailer the character is swept up in some phenomenal experience? What does this style of narration say about Norman Mailer's state of mind? In the second half of the essay, discuss what Mailer most frequently associates toward. What does this say about his goals as an author in writing this novel?

Essay Topic 3

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.

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