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. In Chapter 6, how does the audience respond to Mailer's profane tirade?

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

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

4. Which of the following is not something Mailer is mentioned doing during his emceeing of Chapter 5?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What state is Mailer in when he leaves the party in Chapter 4?

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

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

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

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

7. How is Robert Lowell received by the audience?

8. How does Mailer respond to William Sloane Coffin in Chapter 3?

9. What rationalization does Mailer give for taking his book from the hostess's house in Chapter 5?

10. Describe Mailer's emceeing in Chapters 5 and 6?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the use of stream-of-consciousness and free association in the narration of Armies of the Night. When are these modernist tools used most prevalently? To what extent do they appear when Mailer the character is swept up in some phenomenal experience? What does this style of narration say about Norman Mailer's state of mind? In the second half of the essay, discuss what Mailer most frequently associates toward. What does this say about his goals as an author in writing this novel?

Essay Topic 2

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 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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