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. How many young men in Chapter 3 will go to the Department of Justice to represent those turning in their draft cards?

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

3. In Chapter 2, what does Mailer specifically not want done to him at the protest, should the police sweep in?

4. Where did Mailer and the Chapter 2 caller spend a period of time after college?

5. In Chapter 2, what word does Mailer want to tell Mitch Goodman to shove?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why does Mailer agree to join the Pentagon protest in Chapter 2?

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

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

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

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

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

8. What amusing interchange happens between Mailer and Lowell in this section?

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

10. What metaphor does Mailer use in Chapter 5 to describe the Vietnam controvery in America and who takes what sides?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The character of Norman Mailer begins Armies of the Night with an ambivalent attitude toward the conflict in Vietnam. As the novel continues, his opinions regarding the war are codified by what he sees in Washington, DC. Write an essay about this codification in three parts:

Part 1) Norman Mailer is unsure of what he thinks about Vietnam protesting when Mitch Goodman calls him in Chapter 2. Why does he agree to go to Washington for the march? Is it at all connected to political realities of the time? How does his behavior at the Ambassador reflect his attitude toward the movement?

Part 2) What does Mailer experience on Friday and Saturday at the Justice Department, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon? Discuss how this experience makes him remember his time in combat. How does this experience begin to alter his feelings about the anti-war movement?

Part 3) Describe what Mailer's feelings toward the war in Vietnam have become when his is awaiting processing after having been arrested. What has he realized about those who oppose the conflict? What does he think is driving America's continued involvement in the conflict?

Essay Topic 2

Norman Mailer, throughout the novel, refers to himself and the other writers and organizers of the march as notables, indicating that they will get preferential treatment from authorities. Mailer makes clear in Armies of the Night that the notables have less at stake than the younger, less famous participants. Write an essay about the difference in consequences faced by the notables and the younger marchers, focusing on two groups. What pain does each group face? Why are the notables excepted from this risk? How do the younger groups face this danger with stoic resolve over the course of the novel?

Part 1) The young men who have turned over their draft cards.

Part 2) The marchers who remain camped in the Pentagon lot on Saturday evening.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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