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

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Final Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

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

Short Answer Questions

1. In Chapter 5, what is Mailer's mind racing to figure out?

2. How many days in jail is Mailer sentenced to in Chapter 9?

3. Which of Mailer's writer friends is present in the Volkswagen with him in Chapter 2?

4. In Chapter 4, to what does Mailer compare the people on the bus?

5. From what neighborhood in New York are the acquaintances Mailer encounters in Occaquan?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Mailer's novel is a powerfully eloquent evocation of the pain, passion, and hard realities surrounding the 1967 March on the Pentagon, but it is peppered with instances of his being unable to adequately express his feelings about America, protest and the war. Write an essay, detailing three instances in which Mailer is fantastically ineffective in explaining himself to crowds or the press? How does he explaining this iniquity? What does he feel when he soberly understands media reaction to his words? Sum up the essay with a discussion of how the novel Armies of the Night is, in part, his attempt to right these failures.

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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