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

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

3. Which character in Chapter 3 is astounded by the fact that the papers were kind to Mailer's performance and not his?

4. What did the performance space in this section used to be used for?

5. Who performs first in the event of Chapter 5?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Mailer's emceeing in Chapters 5 and 6?

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

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

4. What rationalization does Mailer give for taking his book from the hostess's house in Chapter 5?

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

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

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

8. Describe the performance space of this section.

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

A good portion of the opening passages of Armies of the Night are as much about the niceties and snipes of the literary class in 1960's America as the protest culture of the same. Write an essay about Mailer's place and opinions in the world of prolific writers in the novel, focusing on three instances:

Part 1) Why does Mailer agree to come to the Pentagon march in Washington, DC? Discuss how this decision is more connected to his literary position in New York than his opinions on the Vietnam War? What does Mailer want to achieve through his involvement in the protest?

Part 2) Discuss the party held the first evening Mailer is in Washington, DC. What decisions does he make about the way that he treats the hostess? What is the reason for the awkward encounter Mailer has with Dwight Macdonald?

Part 3) Mailer enters the Ambassador presentation like a wrecking ball, attempting to destroy everyone around him. Discuss his reasons for doing this. What does he resent about those on the stage? How does Mailer want to be perceived by the audience? How does the popular reaction to his antics temper his behavior for the remainder of the weekend?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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