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 does Mailer forget to give back to the hostess when he leaves the party in Chapter 4?

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

3. Who begins the informal meeting in Chapter 3?

4. At the beginning of Chapter 3, what does Mailer resolve to do?

5. How does Mailer dismiss de Grazia from the stage to begin emceeing the night in Chapter 5?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

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

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

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

6. What state is Mailer in when he leaves the party in Chapter 4?

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

8. Describe the performance space of this section.

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

10. Why is Mailer late to emcee the event 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

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?

Essay Topic 3

Throughout the novel Armies of the Night, Norman Mailer makes reference to other source materials. These offer the reader another vantage for the events of October, 1967. Write an essay about these source materials, focusing on two uses in the novel:

Part 1) The novel begins with a an assessment of Norma Mailer's involvement in the march on the Pentagon in Time Magazine. What does this article have to say about Mailer? How, in essence, does it provide a counterpoint for what follows in the rest of the novel? To what extent does this article both inspire Mailer to write the novel and serve as a destination of sorts for him? Why is Mailer so dedicated to responding to the article?

Part 2) The second book of the novel is full of quotes and references to other publications. Discuss several of these publications and their role in Book II. How does their inclusion reflect a different sort of narration from the narration in Book I? Is Mailer attempting to cite them as corroboration or refute them as he does the Time Magazine story?

(see the answer keys)

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