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 is not something Mailer is mentioned doing during his emceeing of Chapter 5?

2. What instrument does Mailer keep hearing as he marches to the Washington Memorial in Chapter 2?

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

4. Which of Mailer's books is he clinging onto at he enters the theatre in Chapter 5?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What train of people following the the march in Chapter 4?

2. What metaphor does Mailer draw to the Pentagon in Chapter 4?

3. What conclusion does Mailer draw from two articles at the end of Chapter 6?

4. Describe Norman Mailer's arrest in Chapter 6?

5. What appraisal of Robert Lowell does Mailer make in en route to the Department of Justice in Chapter 3?

6. What fracas does Mailer get into in Chapter 2?

7. Describe Norman Mailer as a character.

8. Why is the Vietnam War fought, according to Mailer in Chapter 7?

9. Why is Dwight Macdonald livid about the newspaper coverage of the Ambassador event 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, 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 2

Write an essay about the consistent comparison of the marchers in the novel to a conventional army. Begin your discussion of this likening of two armies by focusing on Mailer's connection of the march to his tour of duty in World War II. What are the similarities he mentions? Where is the comparable glory and agony experienced by both groups? How do the marchers have to prove their courage and willingness to sacrifice for comrades? How does this affect the wording used in describing them?

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.

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