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. A civil engineer believes a road will help

2. Who comes out ahead in Abbey's story about Husk and Graham?

3. The yucca plant is pollinated by

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

5. Abbey describes the views from his trailer as

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Edward Abbey seem "polemic" in his views about national parks?

2. How seriously is Abbey taking this government job?

3. Abbey mentions that both men he meets are married and have children. Can we assume Abbey is neither? Why or why not?

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

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

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

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

8. It is interesting that Abbey wants to "own" all of the grandeur he sees around him. What does this feeling actually mean in this context?

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

10. What advantages did the government's Atomic Energy Commission have in finding uranium? Are they portrayed as a benificent agency?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Choose ten plants or bushes that Abbey describes in this book, and do more intensive study on the flora of the desert by researching these particular plant species. Why does each thrive in the desert, what are their built-in defense systems, what seasons do they bloom or go to seed, how does each reproduce, and what intrinsic values do they possess in terms of beauty, sustenance for other living things, medicinal properties, shade, etc. Try to locate visual images of the plants to add to your essay.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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