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. Which of the following writers is not speaking at the protest?

3. Where do Lowell, Mailer, and Macdonald go after the card return in Chapter 4?

4. In Chapter 2, what does Mailer specifically not want done to him at the protest, should the police sweep in?

5. What does Mailer drink during the party of Chapter 4?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Describe Norman Mailer as a character.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topic 3

More than midway through the novel, Mailer suddenly goes back in time and explains the planning of the March, events which he was not present for. Write an essay about the planning of the March, discussing which individuals and groups shaped it. What were the divergent opinions in terms of the locations and tactics of the March, and which one's won out in the end? Discuss individuals and groups who fell into conflict, why they did so, and how this affected the development of a strategy. In summation, determine whether the March had a coherent and unified planning process.

(see the answer keys)

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