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 Communist leader's writings is Walter Teague teaching in Chapter 6?

2. From what neighborhood in New York are the acquaintances Mailer encounters in Occaquan?

3. What does one of the older gentlemen tell a young black man who gets overly angry in Chapter 4?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What do the Fugs do at the Pentagon in Chapter 5?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

The character of Norman Mailer begins Armies of the Night with an ambivalent attitude toward the conflict in Vietnam. As the novel continues, his opinions regarding the war are codified by what he sees in Washington, DC. Write an essay about this codification in three parts:

Part 1) Norman Mailer is unsure of what he thinks about Vietnam protesting when Mitch Goodman calls him in Chapter 2. Why does he agree to go to Washington for the march? Is it at all connected to political realities of the time? How does his behavior at the Ambassador reflect his attitude toward the movement?

Part 2) What does Mailer experience on Friday and Saturday at the Justice Department, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon? Discuss how this experience makes him remember his time in combat. How does this experience begin to alter his feelings about the anti-war movement?

Part 3) Describe what Mailer's feelings toward the war in Vietnam have become when his is awaiting processing after having been arrested. What has he realized about those who oppose the conflict? What does he think is driving America's continued involvement in the conflict?

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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