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. At what theatre is the presentation of Chapter 5 located?

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

3. At which hotel is Mailer staying?

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

5. What strain of sociopolitical thinking does Mailer chart through America in a speech in Chapter 1?

Short Essay Questions

1. What narrative is told by the Time Magazine article of Chapter 1?

2. What does Mailer find at the church in Chapter 3?

3. Why are Mailer, Macdonald, and Lowell ambivalent about getting arrested in Chapter 1?

4. Describe Norman Mailer as a character.

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

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

7. Describe the performance space of this section.

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Near the end of the second book, Mailer enumerates the reasons why some people oppose the war in Vietnam. Write an essay about this logic, focusing on three of the groups he mentions. Do you think their reasoning in sound? What organizations and individuals represent this group in the narrative? Are there modern parallels to this group in today's society?

Part 1) Those who want Asia and, eventually, America to turn Communist.

Part 2) Those who are pacifists.

Part 3) Those who think the war is unjust.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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