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 other protest speaker is on the same plane as with Mailer in Chapter 3?

2. With whom does Mailer get into a shouting matching in Chapter 6?

3. In Chapter 2, to whom does Mailer state he holds final allegiance?

4. According to the article in Chapter 1, why is Norman Mailer arrested?

5. In Chapter 3, Mailer states that left-wing groups should choose names similar to what?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

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

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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