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. The sounds of the mourning doves suggests to Edward

2. Wood is petrified by

3. The prickly pear cactus and its blossom exemplifies the

4. Where once in the Arches Park there were only used newspapers to catch up on the news,

5. The government's attempt to transform Navajos to middle class Americans is called

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain Abbey's reasoning that joy may support survival.

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

3. Why does Abbey refer to himself as a true patriot?

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

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

6. Explain Abbey's description of the life cycle of the spadefoot toad.

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

8. Why was Turnbow Cabin built?

9. What is an example of the primitive attitudes of Native Americans, as expressed by Abbey?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Consider the time(s) in history that this book was written. By the time of the last printing of this story, what had happened that had exposed, particularly to Americans, the true nature of the rat race we had created? Would this book have been more important if it had been written during another era? Would it have been given more attention by reviewers and critics if it had been written in this decade? Be sure to read Abbey's Preface to learn about how the book was received.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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