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 is Mailer's primary complaint about the performance space?

2. What does Mailer state in Chapter 5 is the best course of action if you cannot please a liberal hostess?

3. What does Goodman in Chapter 2 indicate may happen at the protest?

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

5. Which of the following locations is not one that Mailer mentions rioting over the Vietnam issue in Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

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

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

6. How do Ed de Grazia and Mailer scuffle in Chapter 5?

7. Describe the performance space of this section.

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

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

10. Why does Mailer state he does not have a good instinct for speeches at protests?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

Norman Mailer, the author of Armies of the Night, takes on several roles throughout the novel. He is protagonist, author, and historian at the same time. Write an essay about the interchange amongst these three Mailers, divided into three parts:

Part 1) Norman Mailer is the protagonist of the novel, but the narrator's relationship to him is not as intimate as one might expect. Explore how the point of view of the novel makes the character of Mailer as much object as subject. What aspects of the character does the narrator go to great pains to dissect? How does the he function as protagonist to the first book?

Part 2) Discuss the role of Mailer as narrator in the first book of the novel. What does his narration reflect about the author's personality and his relative level of sobriety? Would you say that Mailer the author is a reliable narrator? How does he react both to the events of the march and the actions of Mailer the character?

Part 3) Focus on Mailer's narration in the second book on the novel. He characterizes himself as a historian in this section. How is Mailer the narrator different from both Mailer the author and Mailer the character? Is his narration more or less reliable than it was in Book I? In what way do the two narrators meet at the beginning of Book II?

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.

(see the answer keys)

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