Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

The Naked and the Dead has been called the greatest American novel about World War II. What does it say about war and military life?

Some have claimed that Norman Mailer’s nonfiction writing is superior to his fiction. Argue for or against this assertion.

How does Mailer explore the conflict between the individual and society?

Mailer has often been criticized for his failure to create well-developed female characters. Is this complaint valid?

Discuss the political commentary in Mailer’s writings. Does a unified picture of American politics emerge?

How does The Armies of the Night comment on the concept of history?