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 clarity of the desert is illustrated in the desert's flora and fauna

2. Edward Abbey's solution to preventing rattlesnakes is

3. To spend time outside the trailer, Abbey builds

4. Edward describes the colors of dawn in terms of

5. The unexpected guests in Edward's new home include

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Abbey kill a wild rabbit?

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

3. 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?

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

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

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

7. Why was Turnbow Cabin built?

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

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Edward Abbey is a reporter and narrator, explaining what he sees, hears, feels and experiences. However, he does not necessarily let the reader into his heart and soul regarding his personal life. He chooses this reclusive job, and makes journeys into wilderness areas where there are no people. Is Abbey a recluse by nature? Why does he seem to prefer this solitude? Are there hints in the story about his personal life? If so, describe and interpret them.

Essay Topic 2

In the chapter entitled The Heat of Noon, Abbey makes a list of the preparations that would be necessary in order to impose a dictatorship on a country. Do a close reading of his list and in an essay, write a response to each of his entries. Was he exaggerating? Is he a radical? Are any of these conditions currently in place? Note where you agree or disagree with his opinions, and why. Where would Abbey fall in today's society politically?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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