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. We learn that Abbey has a real dislike for

2. Blossoming near the shed behind Abbey's trailer is a dazzling

3. Salty water cannot sustain human life because

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Abbey describes areas where one can find artifacts from Native Americans in the form of arrowheads and spearheads, made from obsidian. There is a law that prohibits removing stones from the national park. Do you think these artifacts can still be found in the "shady alcoves under canyon walls" in the Arches?

2. 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?

3. What is Roy Scobie's problem?

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

5. How seriously is Abbey taking this government job?

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

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

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

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

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

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 2

Could you, and would you, volunteer for a job through the summer in the desert, knowing the harsh conditions? Why do you think Edward Abbey deliberately, and more than once, took the Park Ranger job for the summer, which was clearly an extreme challenge? Is he a little crazy, as he notes? What does the experience provide him with, if anything?

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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