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

2. Edward Abbey's description of a thunderstorm in the desert is

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

4. Edward Abbey is employed by the

5. Indian artifacts in the national forest are

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How seriously is Abbey taking this government job?

3. The author has arrived in Utah, having come from New Mexico. How different is the terrain in this new place from what he is accustomed to?

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

5. Discuss Abbey's relationship with the natural world as he watches the stars.

6. What is one of the innate demands of industrial tourism?

7. Why was Turnbow Cabin built?

8. How does the author project his own sensibilities onto the doves that he hears calling? Why?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Abbey and his friend, Newcomb, enjoy an incredible rafting trip down the Colorado River, separating themselves from humanity in general. Discuss in a detailed essay Abbey's mixed feelings of revulsion and delight about the human race. How does this trip down the river bring things into focus for him? Since he is a human himself, does he simply feel superior to most people, or are his objections more theoretical? Is the trip down the river a statement of some kind - does it hold a deeper meaning?

Essay Topic 3

In his chapter on exploring the "maze," Abbey encourages his friend, Bob Waterman, to hide from the draft board out in this country where no other human resides. Why is it ironic, or not, that this particular interaction takes place in the maze? Do a close reading of this chapter and determine whether Abbey has layered it with additional meaning and symbolism, and provide examples. Is Abbey a true patriot, as he claims?

(see the answer keys)

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