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, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. About what do the arrested marchers speculate at the beginning of Chapter 6?

2. What is Mailer worried about missing at the beginning of Chapter 8?

3. Who in the Volkswagen does the MP subdue in Chapter 2?

4. How does Mailer describe the MP's face at the end of Chapter 1?

5. To what does Mailer compare the MP's on the bus in Chapter 4?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the mood of the crown in the beginning of Chapter 4.

2. How does Mailer fair in court in Chapter 9?

3. What permits does the Mobilization Committee get in Chapter 4?

4. How does Mailer determine it is time to get arrested at the end of Chapter 5?

5. What reasons does Mailer list in Chapter 7 for people to be against the war?

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

7. How does the tone of the novel shift dramatically at the beginning of Book II?

8. Describe the several movements the arrested marchers have to make in this section?

9. How does Dellinger go about planning the march in Chapters 2 and 3?

10. Describe the scene in Occaquan at the beginning of Chapter 6.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

A good portion of the opening passages of Armies of the Night are as much about the niceties and snipes of the literary class in 1960's America as the protest culture of the same. Write an essay about Mailer's place and opinions in the world of prolific writers in the novel, focusing on three instances:

Part 1) Why does Mailer agree to come to the Pentagon march in Washington, DC? Discuss how this decision is more connected to his literary position in New York than his opinions on the Vietnam War? What does Mailer want to achieve through his involvement in the protest?

Part 2) Discuss the party held the first evening Mailer is in Washington, DC. What decisions does he make about the way that he treats the hostess? What is the reason for the awkward encounter Mailer has with Dwight Macdonald?

Part 3) Mailer enters the Ambassador presentation like a wrecking ball, attempting to destroy everyone around him. Discuss his reasons for doing this. What does he resent about those on the stage? How does Mailer want to be perceived by the audience? How does the popular reaction to his antics temper his behavior for the remainder of the weekend?

Essay Topic 3

What is the role of notables like Lowell, Mailer, and Macdonald? Write an essay about the role of celebrity in the protest. Why does Mitch Goodman go about convincing Mailer to join the protest, knowing his personal feelings and tendency toward wild behavior? In the latter half of the essay, discuss how the notables actually fare in the March. What do they do to show support for those who face beatings and litigation?

(see the answer keys)

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