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. In Chapter 4, what events does Mailer contend are always the same?

2. What sport does Mailer liken the debate over Vietnam to in Chapter 5?

3. In Chapter 1, what does Mailer claim the young generation hates more than anything else?

4. Which descriptor best describes Mailer's feelings while watching Lowell speak in Chapter 6?

5. What vulgar story does Mailer tell the assembled audience in Chapter 6?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Norman Mailer as a character.

2. Why is Mailer late to emcee the event in Chapter 5?

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

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

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

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

7. What reasoning does Mailer give for placing himself at the center of the narrative of the novel in Chapter 1?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

A good portion of the opening passages of Armies of the Night are as much about the niceties and snipes of the literary class in 1960's America as the protest culture of the same. Write an essay about Mailer's place and opinions in the world of prolific writers in the novel, focusing on three instances:

Part 1) Why does Mailer agree to come to the Pentagon march in Washington, DC? Discuss how this decision is more connected to his literary position in New York than his opinions on the Vietnam War? What does Mailer want to achieve through his involvement in the protest?

Part 2) Discuss the party held the first evening Mailer is in Washington, DC. What decisions does he make about the way that he treats the hostess? What is the reason for the awkward encounter Mailer has with Dwight Macdonald?

Part 3) Mailer enters the Ambassador presentation like a wrecking ball, attempting to destroy everyone around him. Discuss his reasons for doing this. What does he resent about those on the stage? How does Mailer want to be perceived by the audience? How does the popular reaction to his antics temper his behavior for the remainder of the weekend?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay about the protest culture that exists in the world of the novel. How does this culture affect the way famous people live their lives: in particular, how does the omnipresence of protest in America affect Mailer's decision to go to Washington, DC? How does the specter of the Martin Luther King, Jr. march on Washington hang over the events of the 1967 March in the novel? To what extent is the protest movement becoming somewhat rote in Armies of the Night?

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.

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