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

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

3. What is the highest estimate given in Chapter 5 for the number of marchers who may attend?

4. At the beginning of Chapter 4, how long has the crown been waiting to march?

5. How is Mailer dressed for court in Chapter 9?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. In the detain room in Chapter 3, what strikes Mailer about the people around him?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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