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 6, how does the audience respond to Mailer's profane tirade?

2. According to mailer in Chapter 1, which of the following qualities is definitely not necessary in a protagonist for the story of the March?

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

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

3. What happens to Macdonald and Lowell after Mailer is arrested?

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

5. What state is Mailer in when he leaves the party in Chapter 4?

6. How does Mailer characterize the march to the Washington Monument in Chapter 2?

7. How does Mailer think about his family in Chapter 5?

8. Describe the several movements the arrested marchers have to make in this section?

9. What fracas does Mailer get into in Chapter 2?

10. Describe the events of Saturday night in the Pentagon lot.

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Throughout the novel Armies of the Night, Norman Mailer makes reference to other source materials. These offer the reader another vantage for the events of October, 1967. Write an essay about these source materials, focusing on two uses in the novel:

Part 1) The novel begins with a an assessment of Norma Mailer's involvement in the march on the Pentagon in Time Magazine. What does this article have to say about Mailer? How, in essence, does it provide a counterpoint for what follows in the rest of the novel? To what extent does this article both inspire Mailer to write the novel and serve as a destination of sorts for him? Why is Mailer so dedicated to responding to the article?

Part 2) The second book of the novel is full of quotes and references to other publications. Discuss several of these publications and their role in Book II. How does their inclusion reflect a different sort of narration from the narration in Book I? Is Mailer attempting to cite them as corroboration or refute them as he does the Time Magazine story?

Essay Topic 2

Throughout Armies of the Night, Mailer interrupts his own narrative to discuss the novel itself and his decisions regarding how to tell the story. Write an essay about these interruptions, their function in the writing, and their effect on the reader:

Part 1) How does Mailer explain his decision to halt the narrative after his arrest? What information does he go back in time to impart before continuing with the events of the march? Discuss what Mailer indicates himself about a writer by this self-referential interruptus. Is he merely indicating that he is an incorrigible trickster?

Part 2) In the final passages of Book I, Mailer interrupts the events in Occoquan to offer a treatise on America's involvement in Vietnam. Why is this passage significant in understanding the development of Mailer the character? To what extent does it illustrate character growth in the story?

Part 3) Discuss the interruption of narration at the beginning of Book II. What significant literary development is happening in the novel at this point, and why is Mailer choosing to halt the story to inform the reader? How does this interruptus serve to mark a complete tone shift in the novel?

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?

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