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 story of Husk, Graham and Billy-Joe is obviously

2. The yucca plant is pollinated by

3. An arroyo seco is

4. When raising his American flag, Edward wishes

5. The reason for the growth of Indian population in the southwest is due to

Short Essay Questions

1. For what does the author seem to be searching by taking this job?

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

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. Discuss how different the daily life of an pre-Columbian Native American was, as compared to the daily life of an American now.

5. Abbey mentions that both men he meets are married and have children. Can we assume Abbey is neither? Why or why not?

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

7. What is Viviano Jacquez's problem?

8. How seriously is Abbey taking this government job?

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

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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