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. How does Mailer respond to the band's ritual in Chapter 6?

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

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

4. Who in Chapter 5, is completely enthralled by the band's activities?

5. In Chapter 3, what city does the Steering Committee meet in?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

More than midway through the novel, Mailer suddenly goes back in time and explains the planning of the March, events which he was not present for. Write an essay about the planning of the March, discussing which individuals and groups shaped it. What were the divergent opinions in terms of the locations and tactics of the March, and which one's won out in the end? Discuss individuals and groups who fell into conflict, why they did so, and how this affected the development of a strategy. In summation, determine whether the March had a coherent and unified planning process.

Essay Topic 3

Norman Mailer, the author of Armies of the Night, takes on several roles throughout the novel. He is protagonist, author, and historian at the same time. Write an essay about the interchange amongst these three Mailers, divided into three parts:

Part 1) Norman Mailer is the protagonist of the novel, but the narrator's relationship to him is not as intimate as one might expect. Explore how the point of view of the novel makes the character of Mailer as much object as subject. What aspects of the character does the narrator go to great pains to dissect? How does the he function as protagonist to the first book?

Part 2) Discuss the role of Mailer as narrator in the first book of the novel. What does his narration reflect about the author's personality and his relative level of sobriety? Would you say that Mailer the author is a reliable narrator? How does he react both to the events of the march and the actions of Mailer the character?

Part 3) Focus on Mailer's narration in the second book on the novel. He characterizes himself as a historian in this section. How is Mailer the narrator different from both Mailer the author and Mailer the character? Is his narration more or less reliable than it was in Book I? In what way do the two narrators meet at the beginning of Book II?

(see the answer keys)

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