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 is scheduled to happen in Washington, DC, the day that Mailer arrives?

2. At which hotel is Mailer staying?

3. Which of the following is not one of the aspects of war that Mailer mentions being disagreeable in Chapter 2?

4. What does Mailer take from de Grazia in Chapter 4?

5. In Chapter 6, what does Mailer do after leaving the theatre?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the performance space of this section.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Armies of the Night, Norman Mailer regularly invokes the history of the United States while he tells the story of the Pentagon March. Write an essay about Mailer's desire to present the March as a link in the development of America's social and political infrastructure, choosing three instances from the novel in which he invokes America's collective past. How does he bring up the past in these instances? What do they have to do with the current events involving the March? What specific point does the author seem to be making in this comparison?

Essay Topic 2

In speaking about the younger marchers who are verbally abused and often beaten and kept in jail for weeks, Mailer calls this protest at the Pentagon a rite of passage. Write an essay about the rites of passage inchoate in it. What individual actions must these young people undergo in this rite? Are they uniformly painful and traumatic? How so? In summation, discuss what these protesters intend to achieve through this rite. What are they accomplishing by undergoing these hardships?

Essay Topic 3

Norman Mailer, the author of Armies of the Night, takes on several roles throughout the novel. He is protagonist, author, and historian at the same time. Write an essay about the interchange amongst these three Mailers, divided into three parts:

Part 1) Norman Mailer is the protagonist of the novel, but the narrator's relationship to him is not as intimate as one might expect. Explore how the point of view of the novel makes the character of Mailer as much object as subject. What aspects of the character does the narrator go to great pains to dissect? How does the he function as protagonist to the first book?

Part 2) Discuss the role of Mailer as narrator in the first book of the novel. What does his narration reflect about the author's personality and his relative level of sobriety? Would you say that Mailer the author is a reliable narrator? How does he react both to the events of the march and the actions of Mailer the character?

Part 3) Focus on Mailer's narration in the second book on the novel. He characterizes himself as a historian in this section. How is Mailer the narrator different from both Mailer the author and Mailer the character? Is his narration more or less reliable than it was in Book I? In what way do the two narrators meet at the beginning of Book II?

(see the answer keys)

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