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

2. How does Mailer dismiss de Grazia from the stage to begin emceeing the night in Chapter 5?

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

4. In Chapter 2, what drug does Mailer repeatedly decry?

5. Which Ivy League university did both Mailer and the Chapter 2 caller graduate from?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

5. Describe the interactions Mailer has with his fellow speakers at the party in Chapter 4.

6. Describe Norman Mailer as a character.

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

8. What concerns Goodman about the protest planning in Chapter 3?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the novel's placement as a work of narrative non-fiction. How is the friction between the literary qualities of the novel and its documentary qualities central to the work's aesthetic? What steps does Norman Mailer take to ensure that Armies of the Night is a work of literary bravado? How does he then undermine these literary conventions by pointedly choosing to invoke a historical tone in the latter passages? What sort of dynamic does this create for the reader?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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