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. Who is emceeing when Mailer arrives to the theatre in Chapter 5?

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

3. What does Mailer carry with him when he leaves the part in Chapter 4?

4. What strain of sociopolitical thinking does Mailer chart through America in a speech in Chapter 1?

5. What is scheduled to happen in Washington, DC, the day that Mailer arrives?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Mailer characterize the march to the Washington Monument in Chapter 2?

2. What does Mailer feel about left-wing splinter groups' names in Chapter 3?

3. How is Mailer received after Lowell in Chapter 6?

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

5. What does Mailer find at the church in Chapter 3?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Mailer the narrator and historian makes a point of arguing that both the MP's and the marchers are saddened by the violence evoked by the protest. Write an essay analyzing the way Mailer dramatizes the events, giving even-handed account of both sides of the police line. What examples does he give of sensitive and professional MP's? How does he explain the logic behind their brutality and their shame at having committed it? Conversely, how is the violence legally unjustified? How does it result in terror and wild paranoia among the marchers? Is that its intent?

Essay Topic 2

In speaking about the younger marchers who are verbally abused and often beaten and kept in jail for weeks, Mailer calls this protest at the Pentagon a rite of passage. Write an essay about the rites of passage inchoate in it. What individual actions must these young people undergo in this rite? Are they uniformly painful and traumatic? How so? In summation, discuss what these protesters intend to achieve through this rite. What are they accomplishing by undergoing these hardships?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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