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. In Chapter 2, what does Mailer agree to do the protest?

2. In Chapter 2, to whom does Mailer state he holds final allegiance?

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

4. Which famous black leader's sister speaks in Chapter 3?

5. How long has the audience been waiting when the speakers arrive at the theatre in Chapter 5?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What does Mailer pointedly note about the black delegates at the march in Chapter 3?

4. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

5. What concerns Goodman about the protest planning in Chapter 3?

6. Why are Mailer, Macdonald, and Lowell ambivalent about getting arrested in Chapter 1?

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

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

9. What is the plan for the Justice Department protest?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the novel's placement as a work of narrative non-fiction. How is the friction between the literary qualities of the novel and its documentary qualities central to the work's aesthetic? What steps does Norman Mailer take to ensure that Armies of the Night is a work of literary bravado? How does he then undermine these literary conventions by pointedly choosing to invoke a historical tone in the latter passages? What sort of dynamic does this create for the reader?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Norman Mailer is a large, robust, arrogant personality. His placement at the center of most of the novel creates a powerful presence the reader must contend with. Write an essay about the divergent components of Mailer's personality. Begin by discussing his engorged id. How does Mailer revel in excess int he early passages of the novel? What is he trying to achieve? In the second half of the essay, discuss the emerging of Mailer's better angels. How does this reflect another side to Mailer, one that wants to show respect and graciousness? How is the novel as a whole a reflection of this desire?

(see the answer keys)

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