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. To spend time outside the trailer, Abbey builds

2. We learn that Abbey was raised

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

4. Besides money, a reason for developing the parks is

5. West of the Mississippi, Abbey says the cult of "cowboyism" is growing as fast as

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is Roy Scobie's problem?

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

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

5. Why does Abbey kill a wild rabbit?

6. Explain why many of the petroglyphs are found in caves too high for us to reach.

7. What does Abbey mean by "pox vobiscum," and "swinish politics?"

8. Abbey seems to jump back and forth in time in his book. Where in this chapter does that first become obvious?

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

10. Why does Abbey decide not to kill the rattlesnake under his doorstep?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write a researched essay on the current state of the Arches. Has it been mined, drilled, dammed and cemented over, as Abbey dreaded and anticipated? Research, describe and evaluate the changes, and determine whether you feel they have improved the park. Explain your position.

Essay Topic 2

Edward Abbey is a reporter and narrator, explaining what he sees, hears, feels and experiences. However, he does not necessarily let the reader into his heart and soul regarding his personal life. He chooses this reclusive job, and makes journeys into wilderness areas where there are no people. Is Abbey a recluse by nature? Why does he seem to prefer this solitude? Are there hints in the story about his personal life? If so, describe and interpret them.

Essay Topic 3

In the chapter entitled The Heat of Noon, Abbey makes a list of the preparations that would be necessary in order to impose a dictatorship on a country. Do a close reading of his list and in an essay, write a response to each of his entries. Was he exaggerating? Is he a radical? Are any of these conditions currently in place? Note where you agree or disagree with his opinions, and why. Where would Abbey fall in today's society politically?

(see the answer keys)

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