Desert Solitaire Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. The Moab Valley in the distance lies between

2. Abbey feels if you have reached the point of needing moisture from the barrel cactus

3. April mornings in the desert are

4. Water has not created the arches, but they are instead carved by

5. Why were the little calves terrified during the roundup?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why was Turnbow Cabin built?

2. Abbey does not speak highly of the man-made lakes on the Colorado. Why?

3. Abbey mentions thinking the unthinkable as he drives through the desert past the Arches headquarters. To what is he referring?

4. The poet to whom Abbey refers in this chapter when he says, "It was all foreseen a half century ago," is Robinson Jeffers, and his poem is entitled "Broken Balance." Why does Abbey not provide the reader with that information, when he has so adamantly laid out his reasoning and feelings for us in the previous paragraphs?

5. Where in this chapter does Abbey foreshadow a story involving quicksand?

6. Why do the men make jokes about the dead man?

7. Why does Abbey persist in pursuing Moon-Eye when the heat and conditions have become quite uncomfortable for him?

8. Explain Abbey's vague contempt for human beings that emerges in this chapter.

9. Explain Abbey's description of the life cycle of the spadefoot toad.

10. What concession does Abbey make to man's ingenuity when it comes to life in the desert?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

The man-made lakes that have been developed by the federal government in the Arches parks are named after men who personally experienced those areas. Research and write about the two men after whom the major lakes have been named, and their contributions to the area. Do you feel their contributions are congruent with the projects that have been named in their honor? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

There are hundreds of geographical features mentioned in Desert Solitaire. Make a table and list of all of the geographical features, look up their meanings and descriptions, and add images, if possible. Provide copies of your material to the class for reference as they read Desert Solitaire.

Essay Topic 3

Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire is not simply a story of his stay in the desert, but is a narrative of his experiences and feelings about the land as he learns its peculiarities and the nature of the desert. What, however, is the main thrust of Abbey's message? What does he want us to think about after having read about all of the aspects of the Arches and the surrounding land? Does Abbey's story have an ulterior motive?

(see the answer keys)

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