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 performs first in the event of Chapter 5?

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

3. What is significant about the way Lowell recites his poetry in Chapter 6?

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

5. With whom does Mailer get into a shouting matching in Chapter 6?

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

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

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

5. How does Mailer annoy Ed de Grazia in Chapter 4?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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