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. To what does Mailer compare his hangover in Chapter 2?

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

3. Whose flattery in Chapter 4 is Mailer suspicious of?

4. What vulgar story does Mailer tell the assembled audience in Chapter 6?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

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

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

5. How does Mailer respond to William Sloane Coffin 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. What happens once the group arrives at the Justice Department in Chapter 4?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the novel, New York and Washington, DC, are distinctly juxtaposed where one is a place of planning and thought and the other place of action of danger. Write an essay about the juxtaposition of these two cities. Which character best typifies the aesthetic of New York, in your opinion? Which character best typifies DC? What is the significance of the fact that many of the notables spend Saturday attempting to get back to New York for a society party? What does it mean that Mailer soon forgets about this goal?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay about the protest culture that exists in the world of the novel. How does this culture affect the way famous people live their lives: in particular, how does the omnipresence of protest in America affect Mailer's decision to go to Washington, DC? How does the specter of the Martin Luther King, Jr. march on Washington hang over the events of the 1967 March in the novel? To what extent is the protest movement becoming somewhat rote in Armies of the Night?

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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