Desert Solitaire Test | Mid-Book 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. Edward Abbey is living in isolation,

2. Abbey sees as a nuisance the presence in the desert of

3. Vernon Pick managed to sufficiently purify his water by

4. The yucca plant is pollinated by

5. Abbey suggests that former cowboys, like Indians, may be

Short Essay Questions

1. Why would the obsidian shards be named "Apache tears?"

2. Explain Abbey's frustration with Roy Scobie.

3. Is Abbey's story of Husk and Graham a fact-checked, absolutely correct retelling?

4. What is Roy Scobie's problem?

5. Why does Abbey's watch seem absurd to him?

6. For what does the author seem to be searching by taking this job?

7. Explain why Abbey prefers not to use a flashlight in the dark.

8. How were the Park Service rules ambiguous as they were written in 1916?

9. Why does Abbey kill a wild rabbit?

10. How does Abbey get rid of the rattlesnakes?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Abbey practices civil disobedience when he has the opportunity. Write about these instances and describe them, and what they accomplish. Who are Abbey's heroes and mentors and how does he emulate them? Is he simply an angry man? Describe his motives for these acts.

Essay Topic 2

As a tourist, one might have found Abbey to be mysterious. Although he had a great sense of humor with the tourists, he is clearly shrouding feelings that they don't know about, opinions that come through in his humorous sarcasm. In the Episodes and Visions chapter, do a close reading of Abbey's conversations and private thoughts, and analyze what you feel he wished he could say to them, instead of what he did say.

Essay Topic 3

Edward Abbey goes into great detail in his story about Husk and Graham and the search for uranium. Why would he embellish this story so much, given that it was simply a legend in the area and he could not possibly have known such detail? What is the point of drawing the reader along through this story? Is there some hint that he provides that tells us who the real villain is? Do a detailed reading and write about Abbey's literary license in turning this into a detailed tale, and describe what effect he is attempting to create with it. What devices does he use within his story of Husk and Graham for irony?

(see the answer keys)

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