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

3. Next to what famous left icon's bunk does Mailer lay down at the end of Chapter 6?

4. What word best describes the collective mood of the protesters at the beginning of Chapter 4?

5. What sources are reviewed through much of Chapter 5?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Dick Fontaine figure into the events of this section?

3. What comic episode happens when Mailer is getting changed for his arraignment in Chapter 8?

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

5. Describe the more extreme voices in the march planning as discussed in Chapter 5.

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

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

8. What bad news greets Mailer when he returns to New York in Chapter 11?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Norman Mailer is a large, robust, arrogant personality. His placement at the center of most of the novel creates a powerful presence the reader must contend with. Write an essay about the divergent components of Mailer's personality. Begin by discussing his engorged id. How does Mailer revel in excess int he early passages of the novel? What is he trying to achieve? In the second half of the essay, discuss the emerging of Mailer's better angels. How does this reflect another side to Mailer, one that wants to show respect and graciousness? How is the novel as a whole a reflection of this desire?

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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