The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. After a term in which of Mailer's books has the band named itself?

2. Which of the following is not something Mailer describes as the march begins in Chapter 4?

3. Which music group is playing at the Pentagon in Chapter 5?

4. What game does Mailer play with a cellmate to pass the time in Chapter 5?

5. What is the stated goal of the March, as articulated by the Steering Committee in Chapter 3?

Essay 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

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 3

Norman Mailer is an arrogant, hard-living, patently cynical person, but he cares passionately about what others think of him. When he sees someone who is more respected or more famous, Mailer is stricken with a combination of fascination and maddened jealousy. Write an essay about three such individuals. How does the narrative juxtapose these people with the character of Mailer? How does he react to them? Do they inspire anger, respect, or some combination of both in him?

Part 1) Robert Lowell

Part 2) William Sloane Coffin

Part 3) Noam Chomsky

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