The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What favor has Mailer recently done for Goodman?

2. Whose "dwarf alter ego" did Mailer claim to be at the Ambassador speech, according to Macdonald in Chapter 3?

3. Who is entertaining the audience when the speakers arrive?

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

5. What word does Mailer use repeatedly in Chapter 1 to describe the effect of the Pentagon March?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Norman Mailer as a character.

2. Why is Dwight Macdonald livid about the newspaper coverage of the Ambassador event in Chapter 3?

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

4. How does Mailer fair in court in Chapter 9?

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

6. How do the soldiers and police in Chapter 8 make arrests and justify beatings?

7. What train of people following the the march in Chapter 4?

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

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

10. What permits does the Mobilization Committee get in Chapter 4?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Norman Mailer, throughout the novel, refers to himself and the other writers and organizers of the march as notables, indicating that they will get preferential treatment from authorities. Mailer makes clear in Armies of the Night that the notables have less at stake than the younger, less famous participants. Write an essay about the difference in consequences faced by the notables and the younger marchers, focusing on two groups. What pain does each group face? Why are the notables excepted from this risk? How do the younger groups face this danger with stoic resolve over the course of the novel?

Part 1) The young men who have turned over their draft cards.

Part 2) The marchers who remain camped in the Pentagon lot on Saturday evening.

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 is an arrogant, hard-living, patently cynical person, but he cares passionately about what others think of him. When he sees someone who is more respected or more famous, Mailer is stricken with a combination of fascination and maddened jealousy. Write an essay about three such individuals. How does the narrative juxtapose these people with the character of Mailer? How does he react to them? Do they inspire anger, respect, or some combination of both in him?

Part 1) Robert Lowell

Part 2) William Sloane Coffin

Part 3) Noam Chomsky

(see the answer keys)

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