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

2. The government survey crew came with plans to

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

4. What were Husk and Graham hoping for?

5. Why did Abbey's friend from Cleveland think the desert would be a better place if it had water?

Short Essay Questions

1. Do Abbey and Newcomb enjoy the "rapids" they encounter?

2. Where is the heart of the desert, according to Abbey?

3. How seriously is Abbey taking this government job?

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. What does Abbey suggest should be done about the erosion of national parks?

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

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

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

9. The poet to whom Abbey refers in this chapter when he says, "It was all foreseen a half century ago," is Robinson Jeffers, and his poem is entitled "Broken Balance." Why does Abbey not provide the reader with that information, when he has so adamantly laid out his reasoning and feelings for us in the previous paragraphs?

10. What is Viviano Jacquez's problem?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Abbey feels that cowboys and Indians primarily make a living these days by presenting their images to the curious in shows and mimicry of the old West. In a researched essay, determine the size of the population of cowboys in our country today. Were Scobie and Viviano part of a dying breed? How has the cowboy's lifestyle changed since Abbey's time? Do they still raise cattle in this part of the country? If possible, try to contact a cowboy who resides in the Moab area, and interview him or her about his daily routine and how modern technology has affected his work.

Essay Topic 2

What do you think Abbey's general attitude is toward his fellow human beings? His cynicism is obvious, however, are we able to see a softer side of Abbey when it comes to people? If so, explain and describe it. What emotions is Abbey capable of feeling in this environment?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay on your close reading of the section of the book where Abbey describes the noonday sun as if it were a drug-induced experience. Try to explain and expand on the description he has given, and consider why he describes it the way he does. Do you feel he was suffering from heat stroke? Do you think being alone might have caught up with him? Do you think he is afraid for his survival in this moment of extreme heat? What is the reality of this section, in your opinion?

(see the answer keys)

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