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 does Mailer tell Fontain about his arrest in Chapter 1?

2. What type of quasi-religious ceremony does the music group perform in Chapter 5?

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

4. In what month is the March held?

5. Where is the bus in Chapter 4 taking Mailer and the other marchers?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What do the MP's and the marchers have in common, according to Mailer in Chapter 6?

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

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

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

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

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

9. Describe Norman Mailer's arrest in Chapter 6?

10. How does Mailer think about his family in Chapter 5?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Near the end of the second book, Mailer enumerates the reasons why some people oppose the war in Vietnam. Write an essay about this logic, focusing on three of the groups he mentions. Do you think their reasoning in sound? What organizations and individuals represent this group in the narrative? Are there modern parallels to this group in today's society?

Part 1) Those who want Asia and, eventually, America to turn Communist.

Part 2) Those who are pacifists.

Part 3) Those who think the war is unjust.

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

Norman Mailer, throughout the novel, refers to himself and the other writers and organizers of the march as notables, indicating that they will get preferential treatment from authorities. Mailer makes clear in Armies of the Night that the notables have less at stake than the younger, less famous participants. Write an essay about the difference in consequences faced by the notables and the younger marchers, focusing on two groups. What pain does each group face? Why are the notables excepted from this risk? How do the younger groups face this danger with stoic resolve over the course of the novel?

Part 1) The young men who have turned over their draft cards.

Part 2) The marchers who remain camped in the Pentagon lot on Saturday evening.

(see the answer keys)

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