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 word does Mailer use repeatedly in Chapter 1 to describe the effect of the Pentagon March?

2. In Chapter 3, what concern does does Goodman have about the route to the Pentagon?

3. Whose "dwarf alter ego" did Mailer claim to be at the Ambassador speech, according to Macdonald in Chapter 3?

4. Why does Mailer's conversation with Macdonald become awkward in Chapter 4?

5. In Chapter 2, what does Mailer say he has sworn not to do, because it will support continued fighting Vietnam?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

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

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

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

8. What is Mailer's attitude toward protest at the beginning of the novel?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

In Armies of the Night, Norman Mailer regularly invokes the history of the United States while he tells the story of the Pentagon March. Write an essay about Mailer's desire to present the March as a link in the development of America's social and political infrastructure, choosing three instances from the novel in which he invokes America's collective past. How does he bring up the past in these instances? What do they have to do with the current events involving the March? What specific point does the author seem to be making in this comparison?

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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