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. Indian artifacts in the national forest are

2. Eating inside the trailer makes Abbey remember

3. Roy Scobie is a rancher obsessed with

4. The only stream that flows perennially through the park is

5. To spend time outside the trailer, Abbey builds

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

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

4. 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?

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

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

7. Explain Abbey's frustration with Roy Scobie.

8. What are the two wild animals that Abbey has never seen in the Southwest?

9. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire is not simply a story of his stay in the desert, but is a narrative of his experiences and feelings about the land as he learns its peculiarities and the nature of the desert. What, however, is the main thrust of Abbey's message? What does he want us to think about after having read about all of the aspects of the Arches and the surrounding land? Does Abbey's story have an ulterior motive?

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

The story of Moon-Eye reveals Abbey's compassion for animals. Write a researched essay about animal abuse in our country, and include detailed information on such groups as PETA and the SPCA, who try to protect animals from humans who neglect or abuse them. In your essay, explain your position regarding the ethical treatment of animals.

(see the answer keys)

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